Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Farmer's Market Malaise

We make a point of getting over to the Oakland Mills farmer's market whenever we can each Sunday but there's no getting around it: the pickings are rather slim. The Sun reports that the number of vendors have dropped from about seven to five at the various markets around town.

Some farmers say there are not enough shoppers. Higher gasoline prices have made it more costly for others to go from one market to another. Still others say they do a better business with subscription services in which they deliver produce directly to people's homes.

But with fewer vendors, fewer people turn out. Fewer shoppers means fewer vendors etc etc.

It certainly seems like a service everyone professes to want is headed in the wrong direction.

And that's unfortunate. We spent a holiday in Italy last year and marveled at the weekly community markets, bustling with meat wagons, produce stands, and a traveling flea market offering shoes, clothes and all sorts of household goods.

Why doesn't something like that work here?

1 comment:

Karen Gray said...

It's hard for me to understand also. I go to the Oakland Mills Farmer's Market every week. While the number is vendors is small, I love being able to get fresh fruits, vegetables, and bread directly from farmers. It absolutely tastes better. There is a good selection even with the small number of vendors. The peaches, corn, and tomatoes were marvelous this week.

I can't understand why more people don't take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. At Oakland Mills, the market is right next to the Interfaith Center, during morning service hours. I am so surprised more people don't stop by directly after services.

The European markets are wonderful. I'm not sure what the issue is here. In Oakland Mills, we've talked about adding a craft fair type of component, but we would definitely have to have better attendance to do something like that.

If anyone has suggestions that might help, please let's hear them.