Are there too many farmers markets?

| 29 Aug 2019 | 05:32

You want to come home empty

My opinion is that there are too many farmers markets. A farmer could be in Florida on Tuesday, Goshen on Friday and Warwick on Sunday. You are spending three days at market when you could serve about the same geographic area at one.

My opinion is based on economics. It costs money to go market. At least most of our products are not a one-day thing. We, at least, have frozen meat, honey and eggs. I feel for the farmers who harvest fresh vegetables and have to feed them to the chickens or the hogs because the market was slow. I would much rather go to one busy market then three so-so ones. On the other hand, I understand why every town would like to have their own market. That would give the chance to shop multiple days. More markets would give more farmers the chance to participate. It’s not easy to go to market. Up early, load coolers, lug everything out of your truck, set up your tent, deal with the heat, wind and or thunderstorms. Then if it’s a slow market you have to load it all back home and put it away.

I’m sorry, but working a small family farm is a tremendous amount of work and we need to go to a busy market. Spreading out the customer base is not a good thing for us. You want to come home empty.

I don’t know any farmers who wants more markets; maybe a farm that can’t get in to a market. All the supermarkets are pushing buy local now too, and that hurts the farmers markets.

Jack Hillery, Hillery Farms, Pine Island NY

Shop like a European

I am not a farmer, but I love and greatly appreciate farmers markets. Living in the Hudson Valley, I am fortunate to have access to various markets on different days every week throughout the summer. Each has unique vendors with unique produce and products.

With such succulent, ripe produce readily available on any given day, why shop only once a week and have the glorious greens wilt in the crisper? Or worse yet, purchase items so full of preservatives they rival a Twinkie? Health benefits are paramount in buying fresh, locally grown produce that’s in season and not forced to ripen under ethylene gas. Shopping multiple days yields produce at the peak of ripeness, baked goods prepared fresh daily. The farmer/vendor is always helpful in pointing out new items and how to prepare them, expanding one’s palate beyond the standard grocery store shelves.

Are there are too many markets for the population? The Hudson Valley is home to over a million people, while the number of working farms is declining. There should be enough business to go around; the challenge is hooking up those busy consumers with those busy farmers. Having markets on multiple days allows both the consumer and the farmer flexibility to be at the market that works with their schedule. If she can swing by on her way home from work, why would a consumer buy garlic imported from China when the local farmer has plenty of aromatic heads for sale? Bringing kids to the markets exposes them to a fundamental knowledge of where their food comes from, not only making them more well-rounded, but also instilling an appreciation for food, where it comes from and the effort it requires to cultivate.

Denise Tzouganatos, Goshen NY