In California, where farmers' markets can be certified by the state if they show that vendors grow their own produce, some farmers are blatantly lying to their customers. It turns out that some farmers don't exactly grow the products they sell!
An investigation by a local news affiliate showed one vendor driving to a wholesale vegetable warehouse to purchase his stock. Additionally, some "pesticide-free" berries tested positive for chemicals. People were shocked, hurt, dismayed; as one shopper said, "I feel like I want to take my vegetables back."
There are problems farther up the coast, as well. The Washington State Farmers Market Association defines them as "at least five growers selling their own agricultural products," which seems clear enough. However, some supermarket chains are trying to use the term to push their produce: Safeways in Seattle have erected produce stands in front of their stores bearing "Farmers' Market" signs, as have Albertsons across the Northwest.
People are mad! The Safeways changed the signs to read "Outdoor Market" after they received complaints, but the Albertsons will keep the signs if they are deemed successful. Farmers' market groups are worried that the term will become "diluted" in the public's mind. Doesn't anyone care about "what so many people find valuable and magic about these events"? Apparently not.
NBCLA: False Claims, Lies Caught on Tape at Farmers Markets
A (probably totally above-board) farmers' market. [Photo: nycblondieandbrownie / Flickr]