Saturday, July 2, 2016

Local Saturday - Are You Local?

I am disappointed at my local farmers market here in the Binghamton area. But, it took me traveling an hour away today to make me realize what we in Binghamton may have just lost.

A beautiful summer day led us to travel an hour to shop at the Ithaca, New York, farmers market (and do other things around the Ithaca area). 

"Locally produced within 30 miles", the entrance sign announces.  And, as far as I can tell (with my knowledge of what would be ripe and what would not be ripe now), their vendors are living up to their sign.

Swiss chard and fennel (in fact, we are eating our own swiss chard right now).

Garlic scapes, young onions, peas.
Herb plants.

Not pictured - senposai collards, which we will have tonight.  Kohlrabi. Currents.  Raspberries.  Lettuce.  Such bounty, for which I am grateful.

So, what does this all have to do with disappointment?

One of our local farmers markets, near where I live in Binghamton, New York used to be all local.   

But, last week, it transitioned into a new regional market located indoors.  It will be year round (hurray!). It's been a long time coming.

But, when I saw some of what was for sale, my heart sank.

Full sized tomatoes, for one thing, which would not be something you'd expect here at the end of June.  Well, I said to myself, maybe they were grown in a greenhouse.

But, today, after I returned from Ithaca, I went to the new website for the market.  In the FAQ, lots of questions.  But, interestingly, one important question was missing:  "Is everything local?"

Why is the question missing?  Because, perhaps, not everything is local?  And sure enough, not in the FAQs, but in the vendor application, it said: 

"80 percent of all products sold by a vendor at the Market must be grown, produced, raised and/or made by the vendor. The remaining 20 percent of products sold at the Market may be products purchased by resale. All resale items must be labeled with the original source."  It goes on to say that the Manager may ask for verification of this 20% maximum.
I, for one, am disappointed.  If I wanted items not produced locally, I would go to a supermarket.

And, why was the information buried in the vendors application, and not declared in the FAQs?

Well, we'll see what happens as the summer progresses. 

If you go to farmers markets (in some areas, called tailgate markets), do you have an expectation that the items sold be produced or grown locally?

13 comments:

  1. I second your opinion here. I have a farm around the corner from my house. I expect local produce, but I watch carefully to be sure it is. Funny thing, I went to a weekend farmer's market that was set up at the train station and the main vendor was the same farm that I buy from during the week.
    Enjoy the holiday weekend, Alana.

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    1. Enjoy your weekend too, Barbara. You are fortunate to have a farm just around the corner. Enjoy!

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  2. Not all the produce in our farmers markets were grown less than thirty miles away, but they do grow it themselves and what is sold is in season. Some vendors have to get up very early and drive a couple of hours from Fresno to get to the market on time.

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    1. Some of our farmers sell in New York City green markets and it's a long drive for them, too. I feel for them and for your farmers.

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  3. Local should be all local.

    www.damyantiwrites.com

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    1. Yes. I hope this market will reconsider.

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  4. Now that you have mentioned about tomatoes, I feel the ones in our Market are not local produce either... Maybe I should check where they are producing them. I have never tried the herbs you have mentioned ... not seen in our markets. Nice captures.

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    1. I am not surprised that our herbs are different from yours. Would love to learn more about yours.

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  5. That's interesting post on the products and we need more healthy ones, not the artificial ones. Always lovely to read this post:)

    https://vishalbheeroo.wordpress.com/2016/07/01/friday-fiction-love-monsoon-and-sachin/

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    1. Yes, and I hope they will reconsider some of their decisions.

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  6. You'd think that it would be more expensive to ship produce from farther away, so it would make no sense to put it in a farmers market. But what do I know?

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  7. Just yesterday we were having this conversation at work. Most of the stuff we eat is not local. That's what seems wrong.

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  8. Some of our local market's stuff isn't local, and I usually don't buy that stuff. I don't think it counts as "local" just because your brother bought it locally where he lives and brought you some. I guess it IS still local, kinda sorta, but....

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