Imported Fruit and Vegetables at the Farmers' Market?

Posted by heather on Mon 28 Jan 08 at 4:25pm

The commitee running one of Kent's best farmers' markets is considering if they should allow oranges and bananas to be sold alongside local produce.
The reasoning is that it 'would stop shoppers having to go to the supermarket' - does that mean the next stage is stalls of detergent, nappies etc? The producers who sell at farmers' markets should, according to most market rules, be local and sell fresh, seasonal produce or cooked goods containing local ingredients whenever possible. The marmalade maker can't claim to buy local fruit, but they can use traditional recipes, in small batches and without added gelling agents etc. Enthusiastic cooks can make and sell cakes and biscuits that really taste homemade - because they are. The reason shoppers come back, time and again, to a farmers' market is that the food they've bought there really does taste better. If it didn't they wouldn't bother.
If a farmers' market allows imported produce it becomes a street market, where goods are sold on price, a head to head with the supermarket making the small producers take on the very big ones.
Some very successful farmers' markets take place in supermarket carparks. The supermarket benefits from shoppers who buy their local produce at the market and finish their weekly shop at the store - take away the oranges and bananas etc from the supermarket basket and they might not see a benefit in allowing a competing market on their doorstep.
Allow imported oranges and lemons and lines become blurred - should a local lamb producer be able to sell imported meat when he has sold the last of his spring lamb?
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