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Are Copycat Farmers’ Markets Spoiling It for Everyone?

Are Copycat Farmers’ Markets Spoiling It for Everyone?

Earlier this year, we noted that a Food Emporium in Manhattan was trying to piggyback onto the next-door Greenmarket by setting up a tent serving “local grown lettuce” and “Jersey-grown asparagus.” Now The Wall Street Journal tells us these “farmers supermarkets” are popping up all over the country.

Farmers in the Pacific Northwest got irked when a Safeway in Seattle included out-of-season mangoes in their so-called “farmers' market,” and the chain had to call it an “outdoor market” instead. Meanwhile, a spokesman for Albertsons says that chain’s “farmers' market” does source from local farmers, but the Farmers Market Coalition wants the term to apply only to “events that consist ‘principally’ of farmers selling their products directly to the public.” That’s because farmers tend to make a 90 percent profit margin by selling direct, rather than the usual 10 percent profit when the supermarket is a middleman.

Maybe these places should go the FreshDirect route and call them “local markets” — though it’s impossible to tell just how “local” FreshDirect’s “local” clams are: Their origin is listed merely as “USA.”

Copycat Farmers' Markets Reap a Crop of Complaints [WSJ]

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