The AP has an interesting piece on the difficulties facing year-round food markets dedicated to locally grown stuff. Snippets:
In colder climates, it's virtually impossible to maintain a year-round flow of locally grown fruits and vegetables. That means that produce dwindles or has to be trucked in from far away—which goes against the locally grown ideal.
Public markets have also struggled to find a balance between selling raw ingredients and prepared food. Fresh produce, meat, fish, dairy and poultry distinguish a market from a food court. But Americans are geared toward a grab-and-go system, and prepared food is enticing to vendors because it has a far higher profit margin.
"If you go to a public market in Europe or Latin America, it is very difficult to find something to shove in your face and eat," said Wendy Baumann, who was one of the founders of the Milwaukee Public Market, which has weathered significant vendor turnover since it opened in 2005 and now emphasizes prepared foods. "You can't be all to all."
The nationwide growth of seasonal, outdoors farmers' markets, which in most climates run from early spring until mid-fall, provide fierce competition for customers and vendors.
"All the good vendors are already stretched thin," said Charlie Hertel, who was selling heaps of luscious late-summer peppers and melons from his Forest Grove, Ore., farm at a recent farmers' market in downtown Portland. "And as I read the mission, customers are attending the market to meet the farmer, not a middleman."…
Markets can't have too many handicrafts vendors, he said, because they create a flea-market feel.
Thank god for supermarkets. And the UglyRipe Tomato!
Ron Bailey recalls life on the farm while attending to Barbara Kingsolver's phoney-(organic) baloney idyll about eating only what you grow.
Neil Steinberg on a week of eating dangerously.