Fresh produce sign

Beware the Faux Markets

Yesterday, I posted about a wonderful farmers market that we like to attend on Saturdays. It is organized by a local conservancy, and the quality control of products is excellent.

Just down the road, is what I like to call a “faux” market. We visited once, because it looked so quaint. A white clapboard exterior and neat red tin roof, bench swings and colorful signs completed the pretty picture. They were selling soft-serve ice cream and Amish pies. Cornfields extended out back.

Perusing the merchandise, we noticed some things that just didn’t seem right. When we got home with our produce, we were less than impressed with the flavor. Putting two and two together, it became obvious that what they were selling wasn’t locally grown.

Drawing of basket of mangoes
Mangoes in Ohio?

There are many of these faux markets around. Often, you’ll find them in abandoned gas station parking lots; but, lately, they’ve been gaining traction in those quaint settings that attract unsuspecting folk.

We think that we are buying the real, farm fresh stuff.  I even found a faux market on a real farm! To think I drove twenty miles to be offered moldy pickles in a carton, hidden by one fresh layer atop.

Drawing of pickles in a container
Buyer beware! Inspect the entire container.

To be fair, this farm did offer for sale some excellent meats, chicken, and eggs. I would return for that reason.  But why did they find it necessary to sell the old pickles, out of season veggies, and discount tropical fruits?

Warning signs that you are at a faux market:

  • They’re selling citrus and mangoes in Ohio
  • You can buy gum, insect repellent, magazines, and fishing tackle
  • the produce prices are super cheap (Check under the first layer in the container!)
  • Your kids can get their faces painted, eat soft-serve ice cream, climb on hay bales, make jewelry, drive a tractor

    drawings of non-food goods
    If you can buy these, you probably are at a faux market.

The legitimacy of a farmers market is important.  Faux markets undermine that legitimacy by misleading customers and, ultimately, turning them off to the idea of buying food locally.

drawing of lemons
If they’ve got lemons … well, you know!

None of the above is bad, per se. Believe me, I know that trying to entertain small children is no picnic (ha), and finding a place where they are happy and allowed to run around is awesome. Just know what the deal is, and what it isn’t.

drawing of soft-serve ice cream cone

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2 comments

  1. Our local market devolved into one of these. Once a place you could buy fresh veg that tasted of something and lasted properly seems to have been replaced with veg akin to what you get in a supermarket. It just ain’t the same.

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