Farmer’s Market Manifesto

Since the last time I’ve posted I have bought a lot and cooked a lot…I seemingly have lost the receipt from my big grocery store extravaganza, but honestly I bought pretty much the same things I always do.  I did, however, finally go to the Bloomington winter farmer’s market!  To be honest, it reminded me that I think the majority of farmer’s markets are overpriced.  I got a couple deals, though.  Seriously, I’m sick of every one saying that if you want a deal on organic food, go to a farmer’s market.  They jack those prices up so much.  I actually have a general distaste for most farmer’s markets.  (this is something I typically forget until I go to one).  The only exception is the one in Milwaukee.  That is one of the most genuine, neatest farmer’s markets I’ve ever been to.

So what do I hate about most farmer’s markets?

I feel like there are a lot of disingenuine people.  It’s not something tangible, but I feel like you have to look a certain way or carry certain reusable bags or say certain things for the vendors to be nice to you.  It’s almost as if for so long farmer’s markets were a secret meeting place for zany, eclectic people who grow their own patchouli plants and that once markets became the hipster and cool thing to do on a Saturday morning (bonus points if you rode your fixie!), the community became exclusive and started shunning those who show up in Abercrombie hoodies (it was a gift, I promise).

So, of the 10 or so vendors present (all having things I wanted), I only bought 3 things and spent $7.  $4 of those dollars I would return, if I could, but that was my poor judgment.  So, what was overpriced?  Spinach, kale, greens in general.  $3 for the smallest bunch I’ve ever seen?  No thanks.  $8 for 8 ounces of some salsa you canned?  Seriously?  I’m always bewildered that people pay that much for salsa.  $6 for a dozen farm eggs?  REALLY?  I know that these people are trying to make a living and all, but just because hipsters will buy, doesn’t mean you *have* to sell at that price.  (…I actually took economics from Eugene Fama’s brother, so maybe I should have paid better attention in class..).  Regardless of my bad financial advice to the vendors, I still think if they were all about the ideals that get invoked when people wax poetic about farmer’s markets they wouldn’t jack up their damn prices so much.  OH.  here’s what gets me.  $8 for a loaf of hand made bread?  I know baking takes a long time and a good artisan loaf of bread is so gosh darn good and blah blah blah but if I can find the time to do it, then I don’t think you can justify jacking up the price of a loaf of bread that much.

But I digress.

So, what was the one deal that I got?

the largest squash I have ever seen in my life

I got that squash for $2.  Note its dimensions next to the largest organic bananas I have ever bought in my life.  This will probably be a week much like the last time I had an extreme abundance of squash.

What else did I get?  1/2 lb of spinach for $4.  I know that’s not an awful price, but considering I just got a pound at Bloomingfoods for $3.99 I was a little unhappy.  The bags looked much, much larger when I was judging them from the safety zone of the aisle (aka the distance in which you don’t have to engage the vendor and then walk away without buying anything, therefore feeling guilty).  Once she handed me the bag I didn’t feel like I could abort the mission; I’m not that much of an asshole.  I did get 10 freshly dried, enormous bay leaves for $1.  I thought that was a pretty good deal.

Overall, I think farmer’s markets are great if you have the time to sniff out the best deals, but generally a waste of time if you’re trying to buy on the cheap.  It’s exhausting trying to compare each vendor and determine which has the best price, the best looking produce, etc.  Maybe it’s because I’m a pretty busy person, but for now I prefer going to Bloomingfoods and being directed to the best prices by handy fluorescent signs.


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