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Farmer's Markets - is the food any better than in supermarkets?

Discussion in 'The Veg Plot, Growing to Canning and Preserving' started by sidevalve, May 11, 2017.

  1. sidevalve

    sidevalve Senior Member

    Location:
    Durham NE. England
    Mod edit: The following few posts have been moved from another thread to start a new topic.

    Curious about farmers markets though. I mean exactly how much fresher is it ?
    1 Farmer harvests produce - on the same day ? Then gets to market for opening [including travelling across in your case London] - Really. This of course only applies to fruit and veg. Meat and fish MUST be refrigerated anyhow and the meat most definitely will not have been slaughtered on the same day.. Cheese is either ripe or not the very nature of the stuff is [or was] to preserve the milk so it doesn't matter exactly how old it is.
    Sorry but TBH I think they are a bit of an excuse to charge more for the same goods.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 11, 2017
  2. creative

    creative Well-Known Member

    Location:
    UK
    Have you been to a farmer's market? The produce IS fresh else consumers would know!! For example, a large bunch of sturdy, very fresh looking flat parsley going for a mere £1! It's easy to spot veg that has seen better days.

    Meat and fish are kept on icepacks; when a market is for 4 hours, of course, it becomes dubious just how effective these are. I invariably get there for the last few hours and, on touching the icepacks inevitably find them to be not frozen anymore! I wouldn't be tempted anyway since the nearest market is not that local to me.

    As for cheese, there tends to be some different varieties available (not readily found in the shops).
     
  3. classic33

    classic33 Persona Non Grata

    You want to try a "farmers market" in a country area, where the two local butchers have their own farms and some of the shops are selling local produce.

    The higher prices are harder to explain. Or when you make it clear you don't want to purchase their produce, because you've just made a delivery to one of the shops.
     
  4. sidevalve

    sidevalve Senior Member

    Location:
    Durham NE. England
    We do live in a country area and I am still curious about how the butchers get to slaughter their own meat, so the meat is as old as it is anywhere else.
    Cheese - well our local Tesco's [other supermarkets are available] has [on yesterdays count] 18 different cheeses. Maybe there are others available at a market but if you need to be specific then these cheeses are available at many specialist stores - the output from a farm requires more than the odd market to be viable.
    My biggest argument is if the produce is so fresh with presumably no storage costs etc - why are they so much more expensive ? You have eliminated a 'middle man' including all the shipping to and fro and yet it really is quite a bit dearer. Supermarkets are not charities they are only in the business to make money so I refuse to accept that it is because they lose money on items just to close down a few farmers markets.
    Finally parsley - not really a complete diet is it.
    I'm afraid it is an old situation - people need food - they need it in LARGE [there are a LOT of them] quantities and they need it conveniently close and at affordable prices. Unless we are prepared to accept a cull of about 50% of the population 'farmers markets' will remain simply a quaint outing.
     
  5. morning glory

    morning glory Obsessive cook Staff Member

    I've got mixed opinions about farmer's markets. I've been to some which have excellent produce - but it often comes at a price. Others I've been to don't seem to have vegetables that are any fresher than supermarkets. I've never really found them to be cheaper. I think its different in the USA perhaps? I recall @buckytom commenting something about farmer's markets a while back.
     
  6. classic33

    classic33 Persona Non Grata

    Both had their own slaughterhouses, on their own land. However since 2001, slaughter requirements have changed. Same cost per animal killed, whether it was 1 or 100 at the larger slaughter houses.(Minimum set by law, even if you had to have them put down.) That should be at least one more middleman gone, possibly two.

    Only one still there(market forces) & no-one to take over the shop. Remaining one has updated his equipment.

    I've had lamb, slaughtered the day before, for dinner. Same with beef. Veal the same night it was killed.

    With some markets, the choice of location can decide its popularity, not what it sells.

    How much for a gallon of milk from the farm, as supplied to the dairy?
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2017
  7. creative

    creative Well-Known Member

    Location:
    UK
    I take your point about the cost of the produce. I have never really considered it, i.e. that it should be cheaper because it cuts out the middle man. I suppose I see such producers as competing with the supermarket giants and so their overheads may be more? I don't really begrudge paying more if the quality is there.

    I don't just buy parsley! I just gave that as an example of the freshness of the produce. I usually buy artisan bread and perhaps one or two other items, i.e. I would not consider it a one stop for all my grocery needs but then I have explained my reservations re. the freshness there of meat and fish. Regarding the fish - there were certainly a wider range of seafood available than can be got from most other places. Offhand I can't be specific but I do recall being pleased to see such an array. There seemed also to be more unusual cuts/meat choices too, i.e. not readily available at a supermarket and this is no surprise, since - otherwise - why would people buy it?

    There was a larger selection of fresh herbs and some potted plants, various assortments of pickles with tasters (also the cheeses had tasters)...I think they are places well worth going to but I can only speak from my experience in my area - south west London. I have no way of comparing it to other markets.

    @morning glory - did you find produce at the market that wasn't noticeably available in the supermarkets?
     
    morning glory likes this.
  8. Ken Natton

    Ken Natton Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Bolton, UK
    My understanding, the original rationale behind farmer's markets was not that the produce was particularly better or fresher - though that might have been a secondary effect, but the primary idea was to take back some of the profits for those who have put in all the hard work to produce it, from the overly dominant supermarkets who have too much power to control the price and leave the hard working farmers with insufficient reward for their efforts. Understand, I am not necessarily saying that I believe that view, only that I thought it was the stated philosophy behind the basic idea.
     
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  9. morning glory

    morning glory Obsessive cook Staff Member

    I'm trying to remember... yes, goat and kid was on offer at the last one I went to (Bearsted), which isn't available in supermarkets (why not?). I bought some but was disappointed. It could be that I didn't cook it properly though! TBH there are hardly any Farmer's Markets around here, which is strange as Kent is supposed to be the garden of England.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2017
  10. creative

    creative Well-Known Member

    Location:
    UK
    Yes there is something in this that I vaguely knew and backed/supported. Here is a link giving the aims of the London's farmers' markets.

    http://www.lfm.org.uk/about-us/
     
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  11. classic33

    classic33 Persona Non Grata

    Not all farms are large either.
    £2.25 a kilo for lamb anyone?
    http://prices.hccmpw.org.uk/market_prices/weeklygbaveragemarket?n=Great+Britain
    Or there's beef. The price the farmer receives less commission, just over £1.50 a kilo!
    Cattle.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2017
  12. classic33

    classic33 Persona Non Grata

    You certain on that. Morrisons sold it previously
    Goat.jpg
     
  13. creative

    creative Well-Known Member

    Location:
    UK
    @classic33 - not everyone shops online.

    Also did you check out my link in my post above? (# 10) It gives a better understanding of the situation.
     
  14. classic33

    classic33 Persona Non Grata

    @creative
    I don't shop online either, waitrose say they have it but I can't get their site to load.
    I know the ideas behind them, but if part of the aim is to keep local farmers in work then some of them are disasters. We've just had a local food fayre(to promote local produce). With stall holders from Turkey, Belgium and Poland, not exactly local and at detriment to the local market.

    Maybe I'm biased in the fact that I've seen the farm side first hand, having worked it. That includes the cleaning out of the inards, the snapping of necks(hens to geese, with a day spent doing nothing else with turkeys for peoples christmas dinners). "Tinning turnips" is a good way to spend a day.
     
  15. creative

    creative Well-Known Member

    Location:
    UK
    Local farmers means location wise i.e. not the nationality of the owners!
     

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