One thing is for sure, I LOVE the Farmer's Market! What I am not growing myself, I surely want to supplement from other small local farmers and preferably organic.
A Producer-Only Farmer's Market is one in which each vendor selling produce, eggs, meats, honey, dairy products, preserves and baked goods, must be only selling items in which they produced themselves.
The point behind having a producer-only market place is to keep the farmer in the actual farmer's market, so to speak. It kind of takes the question of "Where did it come from?", out of the equation.
The problem more often than not, is that many of the vendors are buying produce and other products from other sources and simply reselling it. It is sometimes locally purchased and sometimes not. Sometimes it is technically local.
Each farmer's market has its own rules and regulations. There are some that only allow certified organic products. I know that the certification cuts out most of our small farmers from attending these types of markets.
The paperwork involved is ridiculous as well as the fees to be certified organic. Aside from all of that, being a certified organic product does not necessarily make it grown by a small local farmer!
It can all be quite backwards these days. If you were to ask me, it is the conventional growers that need to have the endless forms and such to fill out. I would like an explanation personally on the use of all the chemicals being used. How about you?
The Texas Department of Agriculture made the above chart available to the public so that we could have the heads up on what's in season in Texas. They have made available many other resourceful publications free for downloading.
The most important thing that everyone can do is to know what produce is in season. At the very least it will help determine your buying power. The next time you see beets being sold by a vendor in August it just might make you raise an eyebrow.
It's wise to get familiar with your local farmers markets rules and regulations. I still opt for the Producer-Only Markets.
Then you might like to ask a few questions. First question, Who grew this food? Second question, What kind of fertilizer do you use? Third question, How do you control weeds? Fourth question, How do you control insects?
Then just flat out ask, HEY is any of this stuff GMO? That's something they won't tell you at the supermarket! Get familiar with what produce is GMO and what is not by visiting The Non-GMO Project website.
Happy Gardening And Happy Farmer's Marketing!!