Farmer's market cracking down on non-local products

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Pretty much, the flea m. produce is the same as Meijer, Walmart, etc.

Ironically, JamLady, we have a situation that's the exact opposite. While a major farmer's market has no restrictions (and, therefore, is selling a lot of terminal-market crap), several flea markets in the area sell produce that is locally grown. More often than not, the farmers that sell at them are offering heirlooms that have been in their families for generations.

All of which just highlights the state of flux that typifies farmers markets. 

.....they just don't understand what goes into a good one.

Need to blaze that acoss the urban skies, bold faced, in upper case letters.

Although sometimes they do understand, and just don't care. They want to talk the talk but not go through everything required to walk the walk.
 
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Well it's not so much that I absolutely want the chicken to be locally raised, I just thought the way they are cracking down on non-local products is ... ironic. As far as what I want... I guess I understand the need in Los Angeles to attract people with a lot of hot food stands and various craft, but I feel like it's diluting from the original purpose of the farmer's market... apparently many others in this thread would even debate the proper use of the name "farmer's market".
 
Hey FF, I guess the key word is "LOCAL" What kills me is, the person with the Blackberry jam, the Blackberries were local, but when it came to the sugar thats when the rules came into play. What do they want you to do, grow your own sugar beets................Chef Bill
 
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Billy, there's a difference between value-added exceptions (which are specific market-centric) and an obvious non-local main product.

In the case of the blackberry jam, or any such value-added product, the specific market has to establish rules as to products like that. If they decide that "imported" sugar, or flour, or whatever is permisible, then there is no problem---provided the rule is enforced evenly.

Thus, if I wanted to sell fried pies, it would always be true that the peaches, or apples, or blueberries, or whatever constituted the filling, were grown locally. The individual market rules would determine whether I could sell them at all, though, because of the other ingredients that went into the pies.

In the case of a cooked-on-site chicken, there should be no question. If it's a "locally grown" market, as FF indicates, and the chickens were not raised within the locale as defined by the market, than the vendor should be banned. The chickens, in that case, are no different than the woman with the French textiles.

One of the problems we run into with the kind of markets that FF has described is that even when they have written rules they are rarely enforced. And when they are, it usually indicates only that the vendor pissed-off somebody on the board, who is making a case---often without realizing the can of worms they are opening just because of personal animosity.

If by growers only you mean no craft, no hot food vendors etc...,

FF: It actually is more restrictive than that. At a pure growers market, the produce/protein being offered must have been grown/raised by the vendor. That's one of the differences between a growers-only market and a true local-only market. At a local-only market I could, as one example, buy green beans from area farmers and resell them as a farmers market vendor. I would not be allowed to do that at a growers-only market.
 
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What do they want you to do, grow your own sugar beets................

No, Billy. What they want is for you to work within the spirit and letter of the regs.

Keep in mind that many markets do not allow value-added products at all, for that very reason. Their rationale: there are always ingredients or processes involved that are not local. Others do allow value-added, but only if the vendor can demonstrate that all ingredients are locally produced. Still others allow value-added, but carefully pre-determine which "foreign" ingredients are allowable.

Keep in mind that farmers markets are businesses, almost always corporations. Some are non-profit, some are not-for-profit, and some are actually LLCs. They have officers, a board of directors, and a set of by-laws and operating policies. 

Also remember that except locally there are no clear-cut definitions of terms like "farmers market," "flea market," "green market," or "peddler's fair." They are all baggy terms---you can put anything into them that you want. So it's up to the consumer to determine exactly what is meant before shopping at one of them, because the reality might be very different from the mental imgage you have.
 
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This thread has been such a wondrous exchange of ideals, assumptions, and wishes.  After just my first foray into this site, I'm hooked!  Looking forward to sharing the link with my other farmer friends!  Thanks to all who so thoughtfully and carefully prepared their arguments and views.  This is a true pleasure...
 
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JamLady, in case you haven't seen it, there is a thread at the Late Night Cafe forum called Food Inc. that discusses these and related issues. You might want to check it out.
 
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FF: It actually is more restrictive than that. At a pure growers market, the produce/protein being offered must have been grown/raised by the vendor. That's one of the differences between a growers-only market and a true local-only market. At a local-only market I could, as one example, buy green beans from area farmers and resell them as a farmers market vendor. I would not be allowed to do that at a growers-only market.
Thanks for that info KYH, I wasn't aware of that. Now I am. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
 
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Hey FF, I guess the key word is "LOCAL" What kills me is, the person with the Blackberry jam, the Blackberries were local, but when it came to the sugar thats when the rules came into play. What do they want you to do, grow your own sugar beets................Chef Bill
I guess I didn't think that far. The chicken to me is a pretty obvious example, because the entire product they sell you is not local, just the cooking (ok and seasoning) of the product itself is done locally. In the case of the jam it becomes a bit more complex. I like KYH's argument that at least the "main" ingredient should be local (the fruit in the jam), and it would be ok to use non-local sugar. I can see how in other situations it could become challenging to define which is the "main" ingredient.
 
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 KYHeirloomer
I have done battle with my local market in the past. Every time I come up with a leg to stand on they find a way to cut it off or "clarify" the rules. One thing I have come to understand is that sadly a lot of it has to do with $$$$$ and who is in bed with who. The Durango Market is extremely restrictive whereas the next town over Bayfield Co. has almost no rules, has no Board of Gov.'s and NO FEES. We self police and have asked many resellers of store bought stuff to please leave. I have a nice niche there as I cook demo food and sell uncooked product. The Board of Health hates the whole idea outdoor markets. It's a strange attitude as this is a very buy it local tow.
As for having someone raise hogs for I tried that but would up with some inferior hogs and my line of product tends not to use a lot of the more expensive cuts. I would up with a lot of tenderloin and ribs, yummy for me but not a money maker.
This is a great site, wish I had found it sooner.
 
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 KYHeirloomer
I have done battle with my local market in the past. Every time I come up with a leg to stand on they find a way to cut it off or "clarify" the rules. One thing I have come to understand is that sadly a lot of it has to do with $$$$$ and who is in bed with who. The Durango Market is extremely restrictive whereas the next town over Bayfield Co. has almost no rules, has no Board of Gov.'s and NO FEES. We self police and have asked many resellers of store bought stuff to please leave. I have a nice niche there as I cook demo food and sell uncooked product. The Board of Health hates the whole idea outdoor markets. It's a strange attitude as this is a very buy it local tow.
As for having someone raise hogs for I tried that but would up with some inferior hogs and my line of product tends not to use a lot of the more expensive cuts. I would up with a lot of tenderloin and ribs, yummy for me but not a money maker.
This is a great site, wish I had found it sooner.
How many Hogs do you go through ??????  and I can see one problem being, you don't use the whole Hog. That's really to bad, your product would be a great addition to and Farmers Market. We raise our own Pigs, and black Angus beef for our Business.................take care............Chef Bill
 
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The Board of Health hates the whole idea outdoor markets. It's a strange attitude....

That's only because you expect them to behave rationally. Silly you. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/redface.gif

The ways of butterflys, pretty girls, and boards of health are inscrutible, and there's just not much can be done about it.

As for having someone raise hogs for I tried that but would up with some inferior hogs....
 
Why is that? If you spell everything out in the contract---breed, size they should be, quality benchmarks, etc., there shouldn't be any problem. Expecially when you are guaranteeing to buy X number that meet the established criterium. Farmers are a lot of things, but stupid isn't usually one of them. I don't know how things are by you, but none of my neighbors are going to screw up a guaranteed sale of that nature.

Shroomgirl is very knowledgeable about pigs, and I'm sure she would be happy to advise you if you want to follow up on this.

and my line of product tends not to use a lot of the more expensive cuts. I would up with a lot of tenderloin and ribs, yummy for me but not a money maker.

Have you thought about developing products that use those cuts? All sorts of obvious benefits to that, including exclusivity of product, higher price points, and so on.

I wonder, too, what the possibilities are for you to sell directly to restaurants and specialty stores. Certainly that brings the health department back into the picture, but it might be worthwhile.
 
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Just be happy with what you have at your Farmers' Market. I live in a California rural county and the market here is really poor. Growing season is short and the dozen or so sellers only have basic stuff: summer squash, peppers, tomatoes and a few other veggies, some local fruits and one or two vendors selling local honey, bread, home-canned jams. But the traffic is light, the air is clean, the noise is tolarable and we even have a few very decent restaurants. Hah!

If I want a REALLY good farmers' market, it's a 75 minutes drive to the Big City!

Enjoy what you have a stop complaining.
 
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No forks or napkins for chicken?? That exists, Bill. It's called a Ren Faire. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/crazy.gif

Boy are you over thinking this...............You want everything local, like the chicken, the Rotisserie oven it roasts in, the truck in was delivered in, All the spices grown locally, all the paper plates made local, plastic forks Locally..............can I have a fork for my chicken, sorry they are not made locally, eat with you hands, how about a napkin, sorry don't make those either., use your European shirt to wipe your mouth.................Start your own local market, see how many items you make locally....Chef Bill
 
 
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