Say “multinational corporation cheese.”
Union Square Greenmarket shoppers who arrived last Saturday were confronted with an odd spectacle: a series of vehicles parked along the western edge of the market, inviting passersby to have their picture taken with a pair of fiberglass Jersey cows grazing on Astroturf in front of a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream container turned on its side with a scale model of a dairy farm inside.
I look much better when posed among fiberglass cows.
A line formed for those — mainly adults — who wanted their picture taken with some fake livestock, but a much longer line was assembling down the block, where free scoops of ice cream were being offered.
The line for free ice cream in the hot sun was about a block long.
I scratched my head and gave the artificial hoopla a wide berth. For you see, Ben & Jerry’s has been owned since 2000 by Dutch multinational Unilever, which is about as far from the concepts of “locavoric” and “farmers’ market” as you can get. And the appropriation of our greenmarket as a staging ground for their publicity stunt left a sour taste in my mouth. It’s probably not the first time dairy farmers in the market have been upstaged by the multimillion-dollar marketing might of the agro-giant.
On the other hand, you can’t argue with a free scoop of high-fat ice cream on a hot summer’s day, can you?
Ben & Jerry’s ice cream giveaway certainly ruined Mister Softee’s day.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on June 7, 2010