Stuff from farms, right? Ahhhh, if only it were so simple! Even within the most regulated, strict, and authentic farmers market, there are items that might not be quite what (or from where) they seem. How much of a problem this presents elicits different opinions from different folks. The New York Times reported two weeks ago about a livestock farmer in New York State who had been kicked out of the Union Square Greenmarket in NYC for not raising all of his own animals.
Much like we rely on labels such as “organic” or “fair trade” to assure us of how our food was produced, we often rely on the organizers of a farmers market to give us confidence about the provenance of the items there, especially if we’re at a good one that is well-regulated and has integrity. But the above article and a follow-up one the next week bring up how the regulations of some markets can be a confusing–and some say non-sensical–web.
If you’re curious about the rules and regulations of certain markets, check out the Farmers Market Coalition site.
And check out this article from USA Today from about a year ago, on Alice Waters’ recommended Farmers Markets around the country.