Farmers Markets

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  #1  
Old 04-24-13, 10:48 AM
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Farmers Markets

I watched a cooking show the other day and they were raving about farmers markets as the only place to buy decent produce.

They must have differtent farmers markets than where I live. Many have crappy, deformed, undersized and over priced produce. All of the local ones here tout organic but last year my wife and I spotted a Stop and Shop stick on label on an overpriced, but nice looking tomato being sold as organic off the back of a pickup. When I busted on the woman she just said "now where did that come from". There was another guy selling MEAT from coolers in the back of his truck. No packaging, no labeling - just MEAT - at least that's what his sign said "MEAT for sale!"

My point is, who controls these folks. All you have to do is drive up with a bunch of stuff and pay your entry fee. It could have come from a dumpster.
 
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  #2  
Old 04-24-13, 11:01 AM
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Yep, that's about all that's required. Just drive up and set out your sign. In this age of budget cut's I can't imagine who would be inspecting or certifying anything.

My neighbor is a buffalo farmer and sells most of his product at local farmer's markets. He falls under the USDA regulations for whatever reason. He does none of his butchering or packaging. He hauls the live animals to a approved slaughterhouse and get's back packaged meat. At least his stuff has professional packaging and a label. I have no idea about the people selling home made sausage from a tray with no packaging or labeling.
 
  #3  
Old 04-24-13, 11:10 AM
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I agree Wayne. When I lived in CA and VA there were REAL Farmers Markets that you could go to...normally on weekends, though some were open all week. Freshly picked and trucked in that day. Now that I live in an area where there is no real farming going on....most of the stuff is from people who have excess from their gardens...but they want a lot for these misshapen wrinkled little tomatoes and squash. The other option is the guys selling fruit out of a truck...same exact stuff (down to the labels, boxes, and bags) you can buy in the supermarket only you have no clue how it was transported or stored. I've always suspected it was sold off a tractor trailer at a local truck stop (we have 2 big ones and are right between 2 major markets) and just brought in to town for sale. And they aren't that much cheaper than regular retail.


The meat guys are a whole 'nother story and I wouldn't touch their stuff with a 10' pole. Who wants a frozen ribeye that's 1/2" thick and you can't even see the grain?
 
  #4  
Old 04-24-13, 11:24 AM
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I wouldn't touch the road side vendors, specially meats and similar products. Fruits and veggies are not as bad, but if you have to know what you are paying.

Because I live in a farming/cottage town, I have no problems purchasing at the local market or directly from their farms.
Commercial farms (small and large) here, require proper inspections and certifications.
Being a small town, a fly-by-night seller won't go over very well here. I've only lived in this town a year (and change) and I know most of the folks I am buying from, or someone I know, knows who they are.

I know I'm a bit of a special case compared to what you guys see down there.
 
  #5  
Old 04-24-13, 12:05 PM
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We have a couple of roadside stands that are permanent. Located by the farms that operate them. I've bought corn for the last 20 years from the same guy. He's old and he ain't organic. At least he doesn't claim to be, he's just a real farmer and his corn is great. His wife makes and sells damn pies, berries, eggs, bread etc.

Surprisingly, in the summer the Mohegan Sun casino has an antique car show, fireworks and a farmers market every week in the summer and a couple of the farmers market guys have really good produce.

No raod side meat for me - although I have eaten roadkill.
 
  #6  
Old 04-24-13, 12:34 PM
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I believe the larger "farmers markets" in my area require you to be a member and they determine if you qualify. So far good stuff, although the prices are through the roof.

One comment about commercial products. I have read from a couple of sources that the soil on big farms become depleted of essential minerals. They put back into the soil only those that make it grow fast, but the dozens of trace minerals no longer exist. Sounds possible, but no real way to verify.

Bud
 
  #7  
Old 04-24-13, 01:14 PM
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I've bought corn for the last 20 years from the same guy.
Ever try cooler corn? Niece put an article on facebook, looks good and easy.
 
  #8  
Old 04-24-13, 01:22 PM
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The farmers markets we have around here are fairly good. We used to go to an ice skating rink during the summer that had a farmers market and they had some good produce. Another one was in Beltsville and yet another in Adelphi both the Beltsville and Adelphi locations were year round and run by small farmers. All could be closed by now though and I know for sure the ice skating rink location was closed because of Metro tracks that were put in nearby.

Now they have a farmers market near the University Of Maryland that we never go too just too much going on in the neighborhood to keep us away, too many parking meters you have to pay too. I hear they might have one in North College Park which would be nice and I am looking forward to it. I agree too the prices for things at farmers markets is a bit too high for some things but the quality at least in my own opinion has been higher at least in the past than in the store. Been a while though since I have been to a farmers market so I can't say how the quality is now. I too wouldn't ever buy meat from a farmers market as you don't know how it was handled. Of course in other countries they just hang their meat on a hook and cut off what you want but that isn't for me.
 
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Old 04-24-13, 01:54 PM
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Wifey and I have our own garden. We are just now able to set plants and seed stuff in the ground since the ground is getting warmer. We have a local farmer's market. They tout "locally grown" produce. Hogstuff. If I can't get mine out, what makes them think people will believe theirs is grown in the same ground?? Fully matured corn in Georgia in April. Nope. It is all shipped in from more southern climes and the snow birds think it is local.
 
  #10  
Old 04-24-13, 02:07 PM
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We are very lucky to have a huge population of Asians (Hmoung/Mung, Laotians and Vietnamese) that have a long history of growing and using land. They are at every farmers market and have the prime products because of the price it gets.

In one neighborhood (40' to 60'wide lots) with a narrow 6-8' wide strip of land between the sidewalk and street. It was not unusual to see 6'-8' high corn growing on the boulevard with green beans twining up the stalks and late crops set out for the fall. The rest of the side and back yards were even more beautiful and productive with unique uses of the land and with not a weed or a chemical used and maximize the yield and plant early in the year for maximum and early production. In some "ghetto" areas, they moved in and displaced the less economically productive residents. Now, the numerous plots set out for neighborhood plots are rented by the same groups and they have found unique methods to water (tanks and hoses if necessary), weed and till the ground to get prime vegetables.

Many now sell the fresh prime vegetables to the snooty "upper crust" groceries.

It is kind of refreshing what can be developed using tradition methods to make quality foods. - You are finding it difficult to find the old traditional tomatoes and other products.

Dick
 
  #11  
Old 04-24-13, 02:34 PM
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but they want a lot for these misshapen wrinkled little tomatoes and squash.
Many have crappy, deformed, undersized and over priced produce.
Actually thats what you want... That means they are probably more organic or heirloom. When the plants get attacked by bugs and such they build up a defense in the chlorophyl. This is a natural cancer fighter, better then the produce grown in soil that is as bud states:

I have read from a couple of sources that the soil on big farms become depleted of essential minerals. They put back into the soil only those that make it grow fast, but the dozens of trace minerals no longer exist. Sounds possible, but no real way to verify.
This is true. As I stated before Monsanto needs to be run out of town. Most produce will be genetically modified. Once the heirloom seeds are gone they can never be recoverd...They have a patent on GMO's ....absurd.

Here is the company.

Monsanto | A Sustainable Agriculture Company

Now read the truth.

Food Democracy Now

Just my belief and opinion...But if you all don't believe it your all missing the boat.....

Unfortunately I have to eat the crap America produces to feed the country. Thats why I buy local, organic, and grow a 1500 sq ft garden every year. ( All organic, seeds and all)

Please don't cringe that I replied to this...Ha, ha... ill be nice...LOL
 
  #12  
Old 04-24-13, 03:04 PM
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I have no problem with ugly tomatoes or weird looking squash....we always had a garden growing up in OH. Sweet corn, green beans, asparagus, strawberries, carrots, cukes, zukes, onions, etc, etc. No, they weren't as pretty as what you see in a grocery...but they were 10X better than what I see locally at the few "farmers markets" here.

I won't pay a premium for something grown in someones poorly maintained garden that has no real taste (all my above mentioned produce was best eaten right out of the garden) and I really don't know where it came from or how it was grown anyway.

If I had a reasonable option..I'd take it...but I can't pay double or triple or even more to import food and a garden would be a no go here.

I respect your feelings about Monsanto and agribusiness and agree with much of it.....but most people couldn't afford to eat if their products were banned.

Dick has it right...there was member here a while back who said the exact same thing. Wish it was an option for me. Closest I've come is when a elderly oriental lady asked if she could have some of my pomegranates for cooking and sauces. Gave her all she wanted if she would bring me some samples...never saw her again darn it.
 
  #13  
Old 04-24-13, 04:38 PM
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but most people couldn't afford to eat if their products were banned.
You mean organic??? But think about it, whats your health worth???? Spend the extra money on real produce...Organic and you will feel better and probably live longer.

This is a statistic they cannot compute....

Additionally I may add exercise. Most people dont know what that means.....
 
  #14  
Old 04-24-13, 04:57 PM
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Mike - I grow tomatoes that are usually really well shaped. I don't have the plants in the ground yet but I'll post some pictures when they mature. I don't use any chemicals on them except for miracle grow fertilizer. I buy resistant varieties and I tend them carefully. I will also use an insecticidal soap or oils to control insects.

Aside from blighted tomatoes most of the ugliness is from problems that can be easily corrected. When I see a crappy looking misshapen tomato at a farmers market I don't see organic, I see poor gardening practices.
 
  #15  
Old 04-24-13, 05:15 PM
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but most people couldn't afford to eat if their products were banned.
What I meant was bread, pasta, rice, canned goods of all sorts, even fresh vegetables at the grocery.

People who live in apartments in cities, and those who barely survive month to month all over the country...let alone the world. What would they do if their costs suddenly increased by double...or in the case of other countries...their yield decreased by half?

I'll let this be....it's not the place for it. Many other sites for this type of discussion. I applaud you for your beliefs and efforts...but not all can take your path.

Pm me and I can give you a good discussion site about all sorts of issues.
 
  #16  
Old 04-24-13, 06:07 PM
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When I referred to "traditional" tomatoes, I meant (brain fart) the old "heritage" fruits that do not look good, but are the basis for the perfect fruits people expect now. Obviously, our local Asians are not familiar with those old fruits, so they grow what produces well and looks good.

I don't think they buy much commercial fertilizer (mainly organic) and rely on Mother Nature and TLC plus constant care.

I have to admit I had a tomato plant that I grew (with Miracle Gro) in a Rubbermaid pot on a patio in VA Beach that had a 5' high trellis embedded in the big pot(24x24x24) and it went over the top to the ground out side. The fruit was big and beautiful and tasted like nothing. The big problem was because of the conditions, I had to water it twice daily to keep the pot heavy enough to avoid tipping over if there was a any wind. - It was a fun challenge, but worthless results.

Dick
 
  #17  
Old 04-24-13, 06:34 PM
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You mean organic??? But think about it, whats your health worth???? Spend the extra money on real produce...Organic and you will feel better and probably live longer.
The people of Africa cannot afford to even buy fertilizer for their farms and they have the lowest life expectancy in the world.
 
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Old 04-24-13, 06:47 PM
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The people of Africa cannot afford to even buy fertilizer for their farms and they have the lowest life expectancy in the world.
Cant grow stuff in a desert...
 
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Old 04-24-13, 07:00 PM
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There is more to Africa than the Sahara.
 
  #20  
Old 04-24-13, 07:58 PM
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If the producers were to go strictly organic half the world would starve.
 
  #21  
Old 04-24-13, 11:04 PM
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I personally like organic foods and I grew all of my vegetables at one time organically in my back yard. Not much time now for gardening so I don't do it, then too we have had a persistent ant problem and I don't trust what the pest control people put down that much. I had some weird looking straw berries at one time they had legs and arms but no head. They sure were weird but tasted great and I grew them in my back yard. I had an old polaroid picture of a couple of them that I found that way but probably threw it away years ago. I agree though the best way is your own back yard and organically too. As to people starving by using organic practices I don't see that and many farms now are going organic rather than use insecticide.
 
  #22  
Old 04-25-13, 06:21 AM
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Hedge - I'm not talking about folks growing veggies in organically. I'm talking about the thousands and thousands of acres of crops raised for the masses.
Pest management for those crops is an expensive and complicated undertaking.

For corn alone there are at least 30 known insect pests that have to be dealt with. In my garden I can take care of most insects without using chemical treatments, but how do you do that for a 200 acre cornfield under attack by corn borers?

Reducing the need for pesticides is a major benefit of plant genetic engineering. Producers have also been very successful in developing plants that are drought and heat resistant. Currently, most genetic modified product is used as feed for livestock. I suspect that will change as demand for food continues to increase.

Reality is the world population keeps growing and if producers quit using pesticides, production would dwindle, prices would skyrocket and people would starve.

I don't want to revisit the GM food argument. If you want to be informed you can google genetically modified crops for a good WIKI article. There is also a link imbedded on that page that takes you to the GM crop controversy page. Read them and decide for yourself on the dangers and benefits of GM engineering.

"There is broad scientific consensus that food on the market derived from GM crops pose no greater risk than conventional food.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] No reports of ill effects have been documented in the human population from GM food." - WIKI provides the references for that statement.
 
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Old 04-25-13, 06:56 AM
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It amazes me that no one wants to know the story of how we got to where we are now. There is a reason that farmers use pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Yes, there are downsides to these products. but the solution is not to go backwards, but to go forwards. The solutions will be found in modern science and modern farming techniques. The ideals of organic farming are good, but they are close minded.
 
  #24  
Old 04-25-13, 06:56 AM
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The problem with GM food is the perception.
Most of the produce we eat has been modified in some way or another. It starts right at the seeds used to start the plants (current or previous generations).
I don't have first hand experience with this, but did have a lengthy discussion with a local farmer (friend of mine) about it. A lot of schooling goes into some of the chemistry those guys work with.
 
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Old 04-25-13, 07:47 AM
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I think I posted this before... If not take the time to watch it...... It explains alot of my thinking in this matter.

To the original question on farmers markets, we have a lot popping up in the area. Produce is just shipped from NYC. It all is the most perfect produce you ever saw. Not a blemish on anything.

We also have local farm stands that sell what they produce.Not much different but I think less pestcides and herbacides. And also the produce is picked when its ripe and full of nutrients

Lastly I have 5 or so local CSA organic farms in my area. With roadside stands this is what I would buy, but by that time my garden is in full swing and I need not buy from them.

Anyway enjoy this doc.....

http://vimeo.com/37824059
 
  #26  
Old 04-25-13, 03:39 PM
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I think what a good deal of people think is that organic produce is completely pesticide free and they would be wrong. While I never used pesticides I know organic farms do at times but not just any type of pesticide. There are some that use soaps that kill the bugs but leave no harmful chemicals. Another thing they also do is fight bugs with bugs as some bugs are actually beneficial. Our organic market is always full of plenty of produce all organically produced too. So there are ways to produce organic foods for plenty of people but without all of the nasty pesticides.

As to genetically modified produce some of that may be just fine for people to eat but I think the jury so to speak is still discussing it and hasn't come up with a verdict yet. I myself might consider eating genetically modified food but would have to know exactly how it was modified.
 
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