As someone who lived with one of the markets right outside my door 3 years ago, I can say that I, at least, shopped less as the prices rose and the selection became more boutique. The Ecotrust one was, from my subjective memory, the most boutique of them all. Boutique shoppers will just go to Whole Foods. I don't know if the rising prices were due to economic factors or an expectation that farmer's market shoppers have more money, but I just wanted cheap zuchinni.
I've heard second-hand that this happens with the Lents International Farmers Market, which is held Sundays. Montavilla opened a Sunday market a few years after Lents; Woodstock opens its Sunday market this year. In my mind - and I freely admit I am not very deep into the finances of the markets - just having some coordination of market days would help keep everyone afloat.
Nick Christensen (forgot my login)
Look to Europe for the answer. Europeans never stopped shopping in markets, did not need to 'invent' the idea all over again a few years ago, and have a stable and proven model that we can learn from. None support anything like the number we now have here. The markets that do exist are more regular (daily even) and far cheaper. An average French or Italian shopper would expect freshness and variety rather than see it as a luxury and they would not be willing to pay the prices demanded by the boutiques pretending to be farm stalls. I like the markets. I go often. But I also thing that long term outlook calls for a more practical less costly version of what we now have.
On the other hand, Americans spend for less (in proportion to income) on food than our European counterparts. I saw one study indicating in 2011 were spending under 10% of our income on food. I for one am not actually looking for the cheapest food I can purchase. I want the freshest possible and most local. I want a pleasurable shopping experience and I want a relationship with my farmer. The markets do this. The Ecotrust Market was a puzzle...just when I had a favorite vendor...they were gone. The market was always full of people...but I kept hearing that no one was shopping. Too bad. It would have been lovely to see a market thriving in that particular neighborhood.

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