If You Shop Farmers Market

seedcorn

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Surprise surprise farmer markets aren’t what people think.

They can still be a “family” owned farm as well as being what some think of as corporate farm.

Any clear thinking individual knew that they can’t be. Small acreage farmers can’t produce the tonnage they sell per week.
 

Zeedman

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There is also no guarantee that produce sold in a farmer's market is any more wholesome than that sold commercially. It can even be less so, since that produce undergoes no testing, and could contain more chemicals than anything sold commercially. We purchased some chard from a farmer's market several years ago, and served it to the family... we all became sick from it. Some of the sellers in the market are really just gardeners selling produce, and may be inexperienced with the proper handling of pesticides.
 

seedcorn

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I would bet your family got sick from use of manure and nor pesticides. Unless they have a pesticide license, they can’t buy insecticides. To me, the worst error is that the use of manure is safe. Little manure is good. Lot of manure is better. Manure contains bacteria.
 

digitS'

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Sure. Gardeners are often happy to sell some of the produce they grow. If there is some acreage, there might be a large family involved, with about half of them as growers, the other half as vendors at a number of markets. They can be very busy people for 6 or 8 months each year.

At Pikes Place Market in Seattle, the produce resellers are called "high stallers." Their tables are set up high so that they have room for boxes of fruit and vegetables, below.

This is okay with market management and okay with the state farmers' market association. The resellers buying from the produce warehouses keeps Pikes Place open 12 months of the year. However, the produce in many markets is supposed to be from state farms. Even if the market has resellers, their produce is not supposed to be from out of state.

Local health departments have as much authority at farmers' markets as they do at any supermarket. That, by the way, is a surprising and justified (IMO) amount of authority.

Steve
 

Lickbranchfarm

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Not sure how many farmers markets in NC do it, but in our county the farm has to be located within the county. The Ag department here come out to our farm once a year, usually its no more than a walk around, I think they just want to make sure your selling what you are growing. I haven't seen any at our local market with enough to think they are peddling wholesale produce, at least I certainly hope not. I like the market and there are some great people that visit them, but eventually I'd like to just sell produce straight off my farm, cut out all the hauling and waiting for specific days and times.
 

seedcorn

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Not sure how many farmers markets in NC do it, but in our county the farm has to be located within the county. The Ag department here come out to our farm once a year, usually its no more than a walk around, I think they just want to make sure your selling what you are growing. I haven't seen any at our local market with enough to think they are peddling wholesale produce, at least I certainly hope not. I like the market and there are some great people that visit them, but eventually I'd like to just sell produce straight off my farm, cut out all the hauling and waiting for specific days and times.
Can we assume, volume is limited as well as what is in season?
 

canesisters

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Part of the point of a farmers market is that you talk to the sellers. Find out where their farm is, what they grow, how they grow it. You see the same folks every week and build a relationship with them. If you see someone who shows up in May with 200lbs of tomatoes, in June with 50 watermelons, in July with boxes of peaches, etc... then you might want to pass on their stall and move on to the guy who's farm is just over on the other side of the county... you know, across from that old bbq place.. ;)


eta: I've never seen a "Farmer's market" like they show on the video. The biggest we have around here is about 30 vendors. Most are more like 15. They set up once a week in a common area - not in a permanent place with fences and roofs.
I've NEVER seen produce at a farmer's market shrink wrapped with bar-coded stickers. If I DID, I would assume that it HAD come from a produce factory.
 
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digitS'

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Grower-only markets will send, and should send, administration to check on their vendors' growing operations.

I don't like the idea of resellers at farmers' markets. Often, they are not making a lot of money and they may just be people trying to make an honest buck. However, they are in direct competition with the growers.

The produce that they sell may just be picked up on the morning of the market. "Brokers" may not even pay for it, returning what is unsold to the warehouse at the end of the marketday. That puts the growers at the market in competition with a wholesale produce company.

Markets are very much local affairs, unless they are tourist destinations like Pike Place. I once read that about 90% of market customers come from less than 1 mile from the market. Sure, some are looking for the best prices in town. Others, soon develop a relationship with "their" vendors. And those people often wear many hats and work long hours growing, processing, transporting, and selling. They are in competition with supermarkets ...

If they have much volume, and a contract with a produce company, farmers have one place to sell. Done. But, that leaves the middlemen in control of nearly the entire food supply.

Steve
 

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