Don’t you feel like when a new trend comes along, there is suddenly a hundred of alike products and companies competing?
It’s only natural, that’s typically how markets grow. First there’s a niche, and if you are a few of the first, you have the first-mover advantage—though not for long because as competition increases, you’re suddenly one of many fish in the sea.
That’s how I feel about Farmers’ Markets now a days.
I absolutely love going to the market but I certainly feel that this year, there has been an explosion of vendors and of people attending these markets.
Especially at the bigger, more well-known ones. If you go at 10am, it’s like Toronto’s morning rush hour—people everywhere you turn, packed like sardines trying to move from one stand to the next.
The markets are still awesome and some may enjoy the more crowded atmosphere—however there are some downsides not everyone may realize.
When it’s busy, it’s really difficult to get the full experience of spending time to get to know your vendor/farmer.
Plus, you have to be careful at these markets because not every business there may be authentic; meaning that they are organic, farm to table, or even grow their own products. Some vendors are re-sellers who just try to pass of as “local”.
In these bigger and busier farmers market, you will have to make a greater effort to get to know and learn where your food comes—but it’s not impossible!
There are so many amazing vendors that may only be present at these bigger markets, so it’s still a great experience to go. It’s just that if you’re looking for that more personal experience, you may be better off going very early or going to a smaller market.
At smaller markets, you will get that personal-farmer connection, which is the biggest reason why after I am starting to love smaller markets more and more—you get the real experience. You can observe, ask questions, talk to your farmer/vendor and really know what you are buying, making you richer as a person and more importantly a more informed consumer.
I am a big fan of these smaller markets, most are evening markets that pop up during weekday afternoons. They are amazing to visit as you get to see some vendors you may not encounter at the Saturday market.
I recently visited Cabbagetown's Evening Farmers Market where I tasted naturally sun dried fruits and nuts, a variety of cheeses, and even some mini mouse melons! Read about my experience here.