When Andrea Taber, owner the Ever So Humble Pie Company in East Walpole, talked to the Boston Herald about at a Braintree farmer's market she never expected what was going to happen next.
Her story was on the front page of the Herald last Wednesday and her position garnered reaction - good and bad - from thousands of people across the country.
“I was blown away. The front page of the Herald, I mean, I never expected that. I was expecting a couple of paragraphs buried somewhere in the paper,” Taber said.
Since then, she said that people have been coming into the store in droves, to see what the bakery is like and to lend their support.
“Nintey seven-percent positive," she said of the reaction she has gotten from people. "I’ve had over 2,000 emails, people sending in letters, the phone had been ringing off the hook, most of it positive. There are a few that want to take issue with that position. They can express their opinion. Sometimes they want to engage me in conversation, other times they just want to spew and then hang up on me. The ones that are most vile with the letters don’t send a return address."
She feels that some of the negative responses have been unnecessary.
“If you disagree with my position that’s one thing but, to launch attacks on my character is really uncalled for,” said Taber. “People are wishing me ill. Hoping I’ll fail. Hoping my family finds itself on food stamps so I can see what it’s like. It’s foolishness.”
Earlier this year, the Braintree Farmer's Market encouraged vendors to take part in a program where those with EBT cards could purchase tokens to use at the market. Taber is at odds with the organizers of the market about not participating in the program as she is the only vendor to not take part.
According to the Herald, Taber took the issue to state Rep. Shaunna O’Connell (R-Taunton) who then contacted the tabloid about the situation.
“This is a single issue. If somebody is in a situation where they cannot put healthy food on their table and they’re receiving federal assistance to help them do so, why squander those dollars on something like whoopie pies and cookies and pie?," Taber said. “My pies, the 8-inch pies sell for $15. That $15 could buy a couple of chickens, a couple of pounds of hamburger, a bag of potatoes, you could feed your family for several days on that. With a pie, not so much.
“I’m just one obscure person with a tiny, small business in a small town,” she added. “People want to support me because finally they feel like somebody is speaking for them.”
Taber returned to her station at the farmer's market on Saturday and sold out in two hours. She is not sure what the future holds but said she would be willing to leave if asked to do so by the operators of the market. She said she may also leave on her own accord if the market decides to make participation in the program mandatory.
"I love that market," she said, but “they may say for the sake of the market ‘You have to go’ and if they do I will gracefully pull out.”