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First veg at the new farmers’ market!

First veggies at the new farmers' market

At last! Our first day at the new farmers’ market, with a large sign (we temporarily used our new roadside sign to make a…big entrance :), and a small but superfresh and tasty (and seasonal) selection: all-lettuce mesclun, spinach (Spargo) and radish (Rebel). Lynn was happy to be at market in her home town, and Tara made her new-tiny-farmer market debut! The flow of people was steady, and we sold out by 11 am. Pretty good!

Pricing at this market is quite a bit different from the old market: everything is more expensive! It’s not quite at urban market levels, but a lot closer in this bigger town. Basically, the same harvest as in previous seasons sells for almost twice as much.

This is for sure more realistic and fair. I think about the ridiculously low (though rapidly  rising) cheap food supermarket pricing that sets the baseline for what small growers can charge at the market. I recall that in North America and Europe, we apparently spend less than 10% of income on food, when quality produce just can’t come that cheap. And these aren’t ridiculous, high-end, boutique veggie prices, simply a more realistic price—processed foods are still sooo much more expensive, while possibly (probably) killing you at the same time…

STILL, it kinda feels weird putting less into a bag than I’ve been used to for six market seasons. Oh, well, change is always a little strange, this one is good all around, and I’ll get used to it! :)



  1. Holy moly! Mesclun is worth three bucks a pound!?! And you can grow it in June (insert many exclamation points here). That’s December-February stuff down here.

    You’re so lucky to live in a state with seasons so that you can grow a vast array of veggies. I’m quite jealous. Or maybe it’s envy. I never understood the difference between the two. But it’s one of them.

  2. Mansfield

    Is that $3 a bag I think…what would the weight be?
    Nice looking salad mix. Yes you are right about the more realistic prices, and getting the customer to understand that you get what you pay for in food like anything else in life. Good luck for the season!

  3. Farmers Market’ pricing is always something we struggle with!  We believe we have a better, fresher product than the stores with more work by hand.  We deserve a decent living and that’s reflected in pricing.  The little sealed bag of lettuce is $3.00 a bag here in the supermarket and yours just looks sooooo much better!

  4. I’d bet it tastes a lot better too.  Have you tasted the difference between homegrown/farmer’s market tomatoes and the ones in the store?  Watch out!  Once you’ve had a non-store version, you can never go back.

  5. Food pricing is weird.  I’ve biked to farmer’s markets all over the Los Angeles area, and the prices vary wildly depending on what the location is.  I actually live in Pasadena, which is fairly well-to-do, and so our Farmer’s market is expensive.  Having seen that there are plenty of other markets that are 1/4 to 1/3 the price of ours, I now feel cheated at the expensive market, which is nearby.  Even in Pasadena, there’s the Saturday market, and the Tuesday market.  The Tuesday market is for brown people.  It’s in a poorer part of town, next to a community center, and the prices are around 1/2 those of the Saturday market.  Some of the same vendors go to both!
    The same is true of grocery stores.  If I go to one of the small ethnic grocery stores in Pasadena: Armenian, Syrian, Salvadoran, etc, the prices for produce are about 1/3 that of a chain supermarket like Ralph’s or Safeway, which are themselves about 1/3 the price of upscale stores like Whole Foods and Gelson’s.
    The result is that I’ve come to believe that the overwhelming majority of food prices have nothing to do with the cost of producing the food, and are mostly about market differentiation. That, and most white people are stupid, and strangely willing to pay 3x the price to get only uniformly shaped and sized produce with no blemishes.  Or willing to pay 3x the price to get naturally irregular produce from a farmer’s market, which they could be getting for 1/3 the price at a local ethnic grocery store.
    Given this apparent lack of efficient pricing, I’ve decided to just go with whatever is cheapest: the ethnic produce shops.  I sorely wish there were a similar organic alternative.

  6. Pricing reflects the rent the market has to pay to hold the event – the more upscale the location the higher the rent!  It’s also about how fresh you want your food, and do you want to support the local farmer?  The ethnic stores probably got their goods from the same wholesaler other supermarkets are using: it may have been picked three weeks ago and shipped around in a truck and sprayed with some stuff to keep it from ripening.  At the Farmers Market it was picked that day or maybe last night and still has living nutrition.  Many Farmers Markets’ vendors are organic and that can be more time consuming.  It comes down to each person’s priorities for their food.

  7. greg lauzon

    How much preparation is involved? Do you have to wash that lettuce before selling it?

  8. organicsheri

    Mike, how do you get your wooden display to market, together or apart? Do you fill it up before you leave the farm? Do you find a lot of lettuce gets damaged by the customers and there is more waste bulk-style like you have it, or is it more efficient? How do you keep it from wilting at the market? It’s lovely looking mix. Mine isn’t even close to being ready to harvest yet. :)
    Zane…your comment about most white people being stupid is unwarranted. Please reconsider.
    Happy day ahead!

  9. wow… what beautiful produce! I really like your tiny garden philosophy. It’s inspiring.

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