Know What You're Buying At The Farmers' Market

Week after week Michael and I (and our farm team) meet the nicest people who stop by our market store on Shea to either stop and smell and admire our display (thanks to Anita) or to buy their produce from us.  We make sure that we tell them that everything at our market store comes from us - our farm and that we are the growers.

When you shop the farmers' market - do ask if the vendor is the grower, ask where their farm is and also ask about their growing practices. Don't assume that it's organic and don't assume that the person selling you the produce actually was involved in growing the produce.

It seems as if California is cracking down on its "cheaters" at the markets. This recent article in the La Times reads

With concerns about cheating at farmers markets on the rise, the California Department of Food and Agriculture has scheduled four listening sessions around the state, including in Santa Monica on Monday, Nov. 1, to ask for public comment about its Certified Farmers Market Program, and especially to address concern about its integrity.

This step was prompted by two recent reports on NBC News that exposed several alleged market cheaters, peddlers who represented commercially bought produce as their own, or farmers who claimed that their produce had not been sprayed with pesticides, despite laboratory evidence to the contrary. Since the show aired, several farmers have been suspended by county authorities for cheating, and many market-goers have become suspicious they are being bilked.  Read the rest here.

As one who shops the farmers' markets it's up to you to be informed, ask questions and don't assume.