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Barb Downunder

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Is your farmer's market "genuine"?

by Barb Downunder » Fri Jun 21, 2013 3:57 am

Following on the post re prices in farmer's markets.

These market's have been springing up all over for some years now, more coming along each year and
people became concerned as the veracity of the claims put forward by some (certainly not all) stall holders.

Such was the concern there is now an accreditation system used by many of the markets so consumers can
be sure the stallholders actually produce what they are selling.

So, do your markets have such an accreditation system or something similar?
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Rahsaan

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Re: Is your farmer's market "genuine"?

by Rahsaan » Fri Jun 21, 2013 7:53 am

Barb Downunder wrote:So, do your markets have such an accreditation system or something similar?


I don't know what the accredidation system is, but yes that is the concept. And is an important distinction between farmers' markets and markets (or as I like to call them 'food sold outside').
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Brian Gilp

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Re: Is your farmer's market "genuine"?

by Brian Gilp » Fri Jun 21, 2013 8:51 am

I have never seen written requirements or any type of accreditation. Where I used to live, the farmers market that I visit claimed that everything sold there had to be grown in the county and they they were "inspected" a couple times per year. One of the three by where I live now seems to be the same way and since it sets up behind the county courthouse I believe this to be true. The largest one by me obviously allows commercial sellers who ship in produce but there are some locals that shell there since it draws the largest crowds. The Amish market rules I can't figure out. Most of the stuff is local grown (I.e within 2 miles of the market) by the Amish but then things show up that don't really grow locally so I don't know if any rules really apply.

I don't know that anyone verifies claims of organic or sustainable. I don't see these very often at my markets anyway.

What I do have problems with is the picked today line. I hear this all the time. The corn was picked this morning. What I think is true is some of the corn was picked this morning while most of it has been sitting unsold for days.

Lastly, there is some sort of oversight that occasionally takes place. It's been a few years and I forget the product or the details now but all of the Amish were stopped from selling something as it was determined that something was not complaint with current health codes. It was about two months before they were able to make the changes, get approval and start selling it again. Wish I could remember what it was and what needed to change.
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Robin Garr

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Re: Is your farmer's market "genuine"?

by Robin Garr » Fri Jun 21, 2013 9:53 am

The farmers' market we go to most often has explicit regulations limiting sales to produce from the region. Among other things,

4. Product and Sales Regulations

a. Participation in the Market requires the submission of an application and
selection by the Market Committee.

b. All products and produce sold by vendors must be locally produced or grown by
the individuals, families, groups or farms. Locally grown or produced is defined
as Kentucky or Southern Indiana (Bloomington and south). Products made from
locally grown produce and animals are allowed such as baked goods, cheese,
jams, jellies, soaps, oils, condiments etc.

c. In addition to agricultural, horticultural, and food items, non-edible products may
be sold at the Market such as: dried flowers, dried flower arrangements, vine
wreaths, gourds, body care products and beeswax candles. All materials must be
found, grown, foraged and/or produced by the vendor on local farm or land.

d. Consignment selling is permitted whereby a vendor (grower or producer)
consigns his product/produce to be sold by another vendor, provided
produce/products are grown/processed locally, as defined above. No items from
the Louisville Produce Terminal, produce auctions, or any other wholesale
outlets, are allowed.
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Re: Is your farmer's market "genuine"?

by Howie Hart » Fri Jun 21, 2013 10:39 am

I was surprised earlier this week when I went to the city market and discovered a guy making fresh donuts. They were wonderful! :)
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Re: Is your farmer's market "genuine"?

by Jenise » Fri Jun 21, 2013 12:31 pm

Here in Bellingham, that seems to be the case. Not sure what rules exist, but the produce always appears to be local to my eye whereas where I used to live in So Cal, a combination involving a lot of the reverse was obvious. Owing to the fact that the one or two who sold true "local" produce came all the way from San Diego (100+ miles south), which is how far you had to go to find affordable agricultural land that hadn't already been turned into high-priced homes and condos, I was grateful for even those.
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Re: Is your farmer's market "genuine"?

by Karen/NoCA » Fri Jun 21, 2013 12:32 pm

Our market has strict regulations, but I cannot give you exact details as Robin did. I suppose I could go to their website to find that all out. All I know for certain that the folks who sell organic, are under strict rules an regulations and it is expensive for them to have that certification. There are growers who will tell you they are not organic, because they cannot afford the certification, but they tell you they do not use sprays. Some will tell you they do/did for that particular crop, or that they use a natural form of spray that they make at home. They all seem pretty honest.

One of the growers was asked to leave because it was known that they brought produce in from So. CA. They claimed it came from a relatives farm, but that did not fly with the committee. They left and went on their own to a public parking lot. They did a great business and I always went there because it was less crowded and their produce was fabulous. They took school groups through their farm, so I know they had crops. She was an awesome home cook and often brought cooked food for their young crews who helped them, and she would share with regular customers. She made a killer hot and sour Asian soup. She taught me how to roast tomatoes for sauces, the right way, she said.
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Mark Lipton

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Re: Is your farmer's market "genuine"?

by Mark Lipton » Fri Jun 21, 2013 4:00 pm

Ours requires that all participants fill out paperwork before getting a place in the market, and part of that paperwork pertains to where the produce is grown. That being said, a few of the local farmers will also market out-of-region produce (Michigan blueberries and peaches primarily) alongside their own, but clearly marked as such. My understanding is that most of these farmers are bartering their own produce with farmers from neighboring states to increase the diversity in both places.

Mark
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Re: Is your farmer's market "genuine"?

by Christina Georgina » Fri Jun 21, 2013 5:37 pm

NO.....one has to be the lookout for cartons of produce bought from local grocery distributors. I grew up on a hobby farm that produced almost everything we ate and I am well familiar with how home grown things look. It is pretty obvious what is and isn't from the vendors farm.
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Re: Is your farmer's market "genuine"?

by Redwinger » Fri Jun 21, 2013 6:13 pm

The market closest to our home advertises that all products are grown or made in this county. Given the dearth of vendors and choices, I have no reason to doubt their claims. :(

Actually, many of the local farmers tote their products over to Robin's markets since they can get higher prices in the city than here in Hoosierville.
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Hoke

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Re: Is your farmer's market "genuine"?

by Hoke » Fri Jun 21, 2013 8:10 pm

The markets around here (the Portland area) are for the greatest part well-regulated, with clearly established rules the vendors have to abide by. In Sonoma and Marin, when I used to live there, they were firmly, almost obsessively, controlled and regulated...sometimes to the point where a farmer's market would break apart because of rules and restrictions, and re-incorporate as separate entities. (As recently happened in Walla Walla, where our daughter lives.)
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Re: Is your farmer's market "genuine"?

by wnissen » Tue Jun 25, 2013 3:16 pm

It's funny how the rules are. One of the stalls in my Northern California market in Pleasanton brings strawberries from San Diego, some 400 miles to the south. You can see a map of all the producers here: http://www.pcfma.com/market_producers.php?market_id=12 There is almost no produce from the immediate area, except for one small organic (certified) farm and an olive mill. Most comes from 50 miles away at least, but we are in suburbia. Ironically some of the famous producers like Frog Hollow Farms are fairly close but choose to sell in San Francisco.

However, they are "strict" about the produce coming from California. So no bananas, ever (though banana bread is allowed).
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