What do you think a Farmer’s Market is? I think it’s a super cool central location where farmer’s and artisans come to sell the wares, goods, and foods. The prices are great, the energy is alive and everything is fresh and organically grown.
Here’s what Wikipedia thinks a Farmer’s Market is: Produce found at Farmers Markets is renowned for being locally grown and very fresh. People argue farmers markets allow farmers to pick produce at the peak of flavor, preserve the nutritional content of fresh produce, and since locally grown produce does not travel as far to get to your table, the difference in mileage saves fossil fuels.
I learned a difficult lesson recently, that the 2012 Farmer’s market, in Baltimore at least, is not what it has always been. I’m wrong, and so is Wikipedia. So our Saturday market has about 10 different farmer stands–some have only a few things, some have one thing, like the apple stand, and still others have a huge variety. Being that I am in Raw Diet purgatory, I was thrilled to see the guys with the huge variety! I thought, GREAT, I’ll get all my shopping done for pennies on the dollar and feel great about my contribution to local farms. And, to boot, as Wiki states, everything will be even more delicious since it’s grown right here in our soil. You would think. Had not the woman in front of me asked, “were these grown on your farm?”, I may have never asked my question, “is this organic?” Turns, out the answer to both was a resounding “No.”
It’s sad, but it’s true. I went to each farm stand, and got the same answer: They didn’t grow it, and they could neither confrim nor deny whether it was organic. As if that wasn’t bad enough, they also did not know where exactly it had even come from. So not only is there misrepresentation going on here–if I hadn’t asked, I wouldn’t have known–but there’s also a lack of integrity going on. The latter disturbs me most. I get it–not everything is in season all the time, and with the unseasonable year we’ve had, it’s hard to even keep things alive, and know when the crops are ready. But, I like to think of food, and growing as a craft, an art. One its producers should be proud of! Proud enough to know AT LEAST where it comes from, and why they chose to outsource their zucchini.
Whatever have we turned into that Farmer’s Markets are non-organic, non-integritous, and by the way, none of the farmer’s were smiling. I ended up going to MOM’s (My Organic Market) afterall. At least there I could get great service, from knowledge and forthright associates, and I knew everything I picked up would be organic. Why go to the Farmer’s Market anymore?? I mean the prices are good, but they’re not awesome, because now apparently they DO have to make up for fuel and transportation costs. They have to pay the middleman like everyone else. In the store I expect to see stickers on my fruits and veggies, not at my local Farmer’s Market!
Speaking of money, maybe that’s it? The ONE farmer who was selling all of his own produce, was limited to greens–different varieties of kale, spinach and collards, chard and dandelion. It came from his own hands, and was all organic. And he was lonely. He treated me spectacularly, as if I was the first and only person he had buying from him! I “took the farm” for pennies! It was the bigger guys, with the variety of non-descript, foreign stickered produce with the lines. So maybe it’s that they have to sell out of seaon foods in order to make a buck. I’m sure whatever the reality is, it deserves more than I’m giving it in this post. The life of a farmer is impossible these days, so my kudos to the Greens guy, and even with a raised eyebrow, to the other guys too.