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Farmer's Markets ARE NOT!

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The other day I was in No Frills in Airdrie. A person from a communal farm came in and bought large quantities of vegetables that were on sale. He then took them out to his truck. His truck already had boxes in it of all sorts of produce.
The next day my wife and I were at a Farmers Market. Guess who was there selling his produce? I asked them if he grew these on their property. He assured me he did. I then said "Funny, I was in No Frills in Airdrie yesterday and you were buying these items in large quantities on sale." He glared at me and turned his back , walked away and his wife lost her ability to speak English. Amazing!
If you are buying fruit or vegetables, be sure who grew it. We have an excellent source from Markerville that is west of Red Deer and we have stood in her garden. We know she grows her items.
Dean in Red Deer.

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  1. The same practice goes on in Calgary where some vendors buy at COSTCO and repackage under their own label. Not only veggies, but anything and everything.

    1. There's a No Frills in Airdrie? I want No Frills in Calgary.

      1 Reply
      1. re: John Manzo

        No Frills and Superstore are pretty much the same as both are Loblaws companies competing at a lower than average price point. The major difference is that No Frills are either all or mostly franchises, so the owner has a greater say in the product lineup than a store manager might. All it will take is for someone who wants to be a franchisee, with a sack of dough, to step up to the plate.

      2. I don't really consider than any less egregious than farmer's markets that sell oranges, bananas and other fresh produce that are impossible to grow locally, or when they sell fresh produce in January.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Shazam

          It is wholly egregarious when they misrepresent the origin of tyhe product as so many do. Unfortuunately this happens to some extent at all farmer's markets. Imagine if other types of businesses did this and got caught-they'd be charged with a crime.
          Consumers should also be wary when they see something like peaches or cherries, for example, being sold in June as "Product of BC" when the BC produce isn't even ripe.

          1. re: Scary Bill

            Not saying that it's a good thing that they pull these stunts, just saying that it seems in line with their other actions.

        2. This kind of thing is why we're making the drive out to local producers - we took in some of the Summer Country Drive this past weekend and visited HolmeHus Antiques, she raises heritage chickens and sells eggs, we've been to Edgar Farms a number of times for asparagus, peas, rhubarb... Jungle Farms for upick strawberries, raspberries and pumpkins in the fall.

          There are a number of local producers who come out to the Sylvan Lake Farmers Market on Fridays - I find it less of a zoo (and flea market) than Red Deer. Innisfail Growers and one or two colonies, Pearson's Berry Farm, Hidden Valley (I think that's what they're called) as well as Big Bend Bison. Now the market isn't perfect, there is a semi trailer with apparently BC produce from a number of farms but I have a hard time believing they already have BC corn when the stuff
          in the fields around here is still only waist high.

          We've been out to the Markerville Creamery with the kids - but not to a garden out that way - any hints as to where to find her??

          3 Replies
          1. re: maplesugar

            Our vegetable supplier is east of Markerville. Take the road out of town. You will come to a medium bend in a mile or two. You will then come to a big bend to the right. Just a short distance on the right. There is a sign but it is small. They don't really seem to have hours as we have been out there at 9 on a Saturday night and spent some time laking to them. Have you ever had a solid radish bigger than a golf ball? And, sweeter than an orange?
            She is at the Farmer's market in Red Deer on Wednesday from 4 to 7:30 where the old Arlington Hotel was in the parking lot.
            The reason we go to farmers markets and pay the higher prices is to eat quality food grown locally.....not from Mexico or the USA.
            Dean in Red Deer
            PS: We did go to the Kingsland Farmers Market on Wednesday and while it was OK, most of the vendors I felt were not selling local produce so we bought one small bunch of radishes for a snack on the way home.

            1. re: carlitguy

              Thanks for the tips Dean, I think I'll go search her out at the Wednesday market :)

              1. re: maplesugar

                We moved a bunch of replies debating the merits of locally grown vs. the efficiencies of larger agriculture to General Topics: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7273...

                If you've got tips on where to find produce that is locally grown (or where to find produce that isn't, depending on people's preferences), please continue to share them here. But if you want to debate the ethics or greenness of your various choices, that's really off-topic for a regional board.

          2. What you need is a citizens' call for market certification. Here in California, it is a program that's funded by the state, through their Dept of Agriculture, and administered at the county level by the local officals of the state program; everybody knows who the farmers are, where they are, and what they grow.

            http://www.cafarmersmarkets.com/whats...

            Vendors who sell must be the growers of the items, and only they or their employees may sell their produce. No bought-in produce may be sold.

            A market manager enforces the rules through regular farm inspections, and the farmers sign an agreement.

            The various local CFM's may offer a wide variety of items because farmers are allowed to travel to other areas to participate in CFM's. Morro Bay, at the coast, will have fish, cheese, and produce that is locally harvested, but also may host growers who travel from the warmer inland areas where they can grow stone fruits or nuts, which our mild climate will not support. They MUST be certified, though. No brokered items allowed.

            As a sytem it works very well. Happy farmers, as they have a product not offered at standard local markets, and happy customers becasue they are getting ultra-fresh food.

            Talk to your local provincial gov't representatives about such a certification. It would add cache and value to local ag production.

            1. There are some unethical people who pretend to be farmers in a farmers market. There are also real farmers who need your support. Don't punish the real farmers by painting them all the same color.

              Please consider reporting something like this to the market manager and alberta farmers market association (albertamarket.com).

              I noticed the same thing at a new market in Calgary, where retail stores are trying squeeze out real farmers. Loblaws is also trying to create a farmers market feel in their stores. Maybe they should invite some farmers and give them free space.

              1 Reply
              1. re: hippiehouse

                "Free Space" Surely you jest. And I shop at Superstore and haven't noticed any "Farmer's Market" feel at all. I do wish though that they would source local though wherever possible. Probably difficult though given logistics, price points and required quantities in some instances.

              2. I don't want to compare everything to Europe, what I do miss here however are the real small farmers who bring their products to market.
                You know, where the "stand" is a couple of buckets or some apple crates and the Farmer does not have a website....they mostly attend to socialize I think.

                (Agri)culture is different here and I have not visited any of the farms around Calgary, just looked at their websites, or read about them in various Blogs. Maybe it's time to start.

                here is post from an Edmonton traveller who wrote about a market in Bosnia. Great images.

                http://www.acanadianfoodie.com/2009/0...

                1. Alberta Farm Fresh has a very comprehensive directory of producers that will sell you stuff.

                  http://www.albertafarmfresh.com/

                  Never even heard of this until I got their guide from the CalHort garden tour.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Shazam

                    Love albertafarmfresh.com - they really need to advertise better though judging by how many people know about it. We've been using their guide and countrydrive.ca to find local producers - I was surprised to see how many there were. I've found that if you don't want to make the drive you can call and leave a message with a producer asking if they sell anywhere other than on the farm and they're usually quite happy to answer questions.