The Concept of a Farmers’ Market is Questionable!

Farmers Market, as per Google:

  1. noun. a food market at which local farmers sell fruit and vegetables and often meat, cheese, and bakery products directly to consumers.

Walking in St.Jacobs, Waterloo, Ontario – not only do you see local pastries and food, you tend to see deals such as $5 for 5 boxes of strawberries. You look closer and you see “Grown in California”. Were farmer markets not about supporting the local farms and communities. Since when did we start importing goods from a place 4000+km?! It is a Mennonite community there and so you can see the authenticity in half the produce there.

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St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market in the Summer

Don’t get me wrong as I love going there and think that everyone should visit that area. I’m just questioning some vendors more than others. Whereas, when I went to California, it felt as if their farmers’ market was more local. They are in a climate and location where most goods are produced, so I can understand why. With that being said, does that mean that a Farmers’ Market cannot be set up everywhere? If they can, I suppose they would lack variety if limited to only what their climate permits?

In smaller towns, I find that you have “that feeling” you should get when you enter the market. The connection it builds with the communities can be described in the following quote on why farmers love farmers’ markets:

Farmers love them because they’re fun and let them connect with consumers who love what they sell and appreciate their hard work. They’re also an important source of income, helping farmers keep on doing what they love to do, so that Ontarians can keep on enjoying fresh local food. (Farmers Market Ontario)

This takes me forward to living in Toronto and visiting St.Lawrence Market. I understand there is a great distance for these farms to come and we are by an Ontario Food Terminal but how are we ensuring these markets meet any standards or are we under the assumption that they must be local. With a simple Google Search, I manage to find Farmers Market Ontario along with Farmers Market Canada. That helped but it didn’t help solve the mystery of “Products from Chile” or “Products from California” that I occasionally find in these markets. Looks like more investigative work is to be needed on this.

To Ponder on: Where did we go wrong to lose “that feeling” and sense of belonging (with our food) in the larger cities? How would one ever bring it back or are we too far fetched?

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3 thoughts on “The Concept of a Farmers’ Market is Questionable!

  1. What a shame, if I wanted food from California and chili I would just use the convenience of a mega grocery store. I’m from one of those small towns where “that feeling” still exists at the farmers market and it’s great! I’ve had some good conversations with farmers and even know exactly what they feed their animals or why foods grows best with certain elevations, soils etc. Interesting find at St. Jacobs, wonder why they import in an area with great farming all around them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I leave Toronto to go on a trip to another town, I always try to make it out to their local farmers market b/c I think it’s amazing the kind of things they do. When certain markets become more “marketed” as a tourist attraction especially, I find that gaps start to appear and people find ways to sell what they want to sell. At St. Jacobs, it is a small percentage that had those deals but it still throws me off to an extent and I tend to just pass them by. Indeed shameful. Otherwise, most of the Farmers’ Market at St. Jacobs is lovely since there’s a variety of stories and methods of growing the same produce.

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