"It’s spring, and many of us are re-discovering our local farmers' markets. But how do you know if those first-of-the-season bunches of asparagus, peas, and onions were grown by the farmer who’s selling it to you?"
"nce upon a time, back in the 1980s, farmers’ markets were pure. Local farmers gathered in convenient public places to sell food directly to customers, bypassing faceless wholesalers and giant supermarkets while nurturing a nascent American foodie culture. At least that’s the image that some hold dear.
Things are more complicated today.
Collectively, farmers’ markets are now big business, growing from 1,744 markets in 1994 to 8,268 in 2014 according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). And with that growth has come incentive for fraud; in particular, vendors passing off produce as locally grown, when in fact those tomatoes, heads of lettuce, or peaches grew far from the vendors’ fields."