Refuse to be Passive

Farmer’s Markets: Truly Local?

In Food on August 18, 2010 at 9:22 am

I read of a man in Airdire who went shopping at Superstore one day and he noticed a man stocking up on produce. The next day, this same man went to his local farmer’s market and saw the same man who had been in Superstore selling the produce. So, this consumer walked up to the seller and inquired if the seller had grown all of his products on his own land. The seller assured him he had. The consumer then said, “Then why did I see you in Superstore yesterday, buying this?” The seller glowered at him and walked away.

I love farmer’s markets, and a story like this distresses me a bit. I don’t live in Airdrie; I live in Edmonton. And I know many reputable local businesses that sell at our farmer’s markets. But the truth of the matter is, I know little of the producers and often wonder how far my food is travelling. Is it local at all? Is there any misrepresentation? If you’re interested in seeing where your food is raised or grown, many producers will be happy to let you see their farms or gardens.  But if you’re not up for a jaunt into the country, there’s another way of finding local producers, a website: Alberta Farm Fresh Producers Association. From this website, you can search by product type for local producers, from strawberries to chicken, I can find out where in the province I can get good local products.

Now, not all local producers are on this page. Undoubtedly there are others. For example, when I look under eggs, I don’t see Green Eggs and Ham– a ten acre mixed farm near the Edmonton International Airport and a well-loved vendor at the downtown Farmer’s Market. So please be aware that this list is not comprehensive. But if you’re looking for a little peace of mind, check it out.

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