Social Media Foodie: Would the Real Farmers Please Stand Up?

Farmers markets, a welcoming oasis especially for city dwellers, gives us that sense of connectedness to other people and more importantly to our food. When I worked in Washington, D.C. I lived near Eastern Market, which every weekend would showcase an amazingly diverse and abundant array of fresh fruits, vegetables, cheeses, seafood, and more.

I don't ever remember questioning the authenticity of who produced the food - or even if they produced it at all.

I came across an article in the Wall Street Journal that talks about the rampant re-sellers that are infiltrating Farmers Markets across the country. Now, it's not unfair to ask for purity at a Farmers Market. We all expect fresh products and produce, grown by the vendors who show up. But one particular paragraph caught my attention.

"For the past few years, Luis Vazquez has been waging war against a popular baked-goods vendor from the Ann Arbor Farmers Market in Michigan. Mr. Vazquez suspects the bakery, Kapnick Orchards, is selling
pre-made baked goods."

I'll admit the fact someone could be "waging a war" against a "baked-goods vendor" for being a "suspected" fake baker is somewhat hilarious. But as the USDA has shown, the number of farmers markets have grown significantly in the past 10 years - now up to 5,300 - double the number a decade ago.

There's little doubt the organic and even green movement have attributed to this increase. The Slow Food movement, although small, also probably seeps into the larger culture and documentaries bring to our attention the need for being closer to our food.

Perhaps I've been a little naive when it comes to the innocence of "farmers" at farmers markets...but not quite ready to "wage war" or succumb to farmers market paranoia. When it comes down to it, we're all in the food industry in one way or another. And the reality is that it's often up to us to weed out the posers, resellers, and yes, even the fake bakers.

Views: 2

Tags: Coalition, Farmers, Market, USDA, farmers, fohboh, food, market, organic, produce, More…restaurant social media, safety


You need to be a member of FohBoh to add comments!

Join FohBoh

Comment by Michael Biesemeyer on May 15, 2010 at 9:44am
Here's a Farmer's Market search tool:
Comment by Annette Aaron on May 14, 2010 at 2:58am
The farmers market anywhere in the country always makes me feel good. I believe maybe foolishly that my radar can weed out the posers.
Comment by Marcus Guiliano on May 7, 2010 at 6:18am
I have always told people to ask the vendors at farm markets if they are the farmer or vendor. Some farm markets only want farmers, some don't care and some will try to get anchor vendors. So farm markets can be misleading. But I see the benefits to have vendors, but they need to identify themselves. Of course bananas in Michigan are a dead giveaway. The benefits of having an out of area/season items helps the consumer save time and hopefully skip a trip to the grocery store. Some markets are so limited that bananas, avocados, citrus and food and craft vendors will increase traffic. And increased traffic is better for the farmer. But the vendors should never compete with the same type of products. I have seen one market that put all the vendors together in one area and the farmers got the prime front spaces.
Comment by Josh Hersh on April 29, 2010 at 7:52pm

Well said! That's hilarious...beware of the posers!

Comment by Kaffeenjunkie on April 29, 2010 at 7:05pm
If you are selling bananas in a Farmers Market in Michigan, you just might be a poser. (true story)
If you are selling tomatoes in May at a Farmers Market in Michigan, you just might be a poser. *(another true story and they came out of a box marked FLA)
If you are selling baked goods that look like they would be at home on the continental breakfast bar at a major hotel chain, you just might be a poser,
Comment by Josh Hersh on April 29, 2010 at 11:02am
Totally agree Michael!

I almost wrote this post about social media types bringing transparency to farmers markets...the same that's happening in government and other sectors that had too much secrecy. Looks like we have a lot of work on our hands to create such a Yelp-type site! haha I like your thinking!

It would be a great resource to have all of the Farmers Markets mapped out on a Google Map and a website that allows people to connect through Twitter, FB, etc. I'm thinking it could almost be done through something like Ning as well.
Comment by Michael Biesemeyer on April 29, 2010 at 10:50am
I agree, Josh. This is one instance where self-regulation makes the most sense. The fact that the consumer-producer relationship is so intimate at farmer's markets should help identify the vendors that are there under 'false pretenses.'

The fact that wannabes are flocking to these venues is a testament to the local food movement's value to the community, like you've stated in your post. Perhaps the market's organizers should be a bit more aware of whom they let obtain booth space. Maybe there's an opportunity for a social media site (a la Yelp) that rates farmers/vendors at all the farmer's markets across the country...consumer driven, reviewed, etc?

Again, this is one for the community to manage, in my opinion...not some regulatory body.




Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries


Chains make chicken the star of the menu

High beef and pork prices are making chicken the go-to meat more than ever, boosting wholesale prices for producers and spurr -More

Americans continue to eat less fish

The average American is consuming only 14.4 pounds of fish per year, down from the record high of 16.6 pounds in 2004, Ben Di -More


Posting a job or finding a job starts here at FohBoh. Call us about special $25 posting packages to syndicate across all major jobs boards.

National News

McAlister's Deli Signs Franchise Agreement to Expand to Cleveland

McAlister's Deli announced it has signed a development agreement with an experienced multi-unit operator to develop three restaurants in the Cleveland, Ohio, area - the brand's first locations in the market.

Restaurant Trends - Growing And Emerging Concepts - Change and Activity April 16, 2014

Update from on growing and emerging restaurant concepts

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. Announces CFO Departure in May

The company has commenced a search for Mr. Hope’s successor, reviewing both internal and external candidates. Mr. Hope will assist in the transition of duties to an interim CFO and will remain a consultant to the company through the summer.

Fuddruckers Reenters New York State With Restaurant In Middletown

introduces its first company-operated New York State site today at 340 Route 211 East in Middletown, which is located in the Hudson Valley approximately 60 miles from Manhattan.

Giardino Gourmet Salads Announces Nine Consecutive Quarters Of Positive Comparable Sales

Giardino Gourmet Salads announced that it has experienced nine consecutive quarters of positive comparable sales after posting an eight percent increase throughout the first quarter of 2014.


If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.


TED: Norman Spack: How I help transgender teens become who they want to be - Norman Spack (2013)

Puberty is an awkward time for just about everybody, but for transgender teens it can be a nightmare, as they grow overnight into bodies they aren't comfortable with. In a heartfelt talk, endocrinologist Norman Spack tells a personal story of how he became one of the few doctors in the US to treat minors with hormone replacement therapy. By staving off the effects of puberty, Spack gives trans teens the time they need. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.)

TED: Jennifer Senior: For parents, happiness is a very high bar - Jennifer Senior (2014)

The parenting section of the bookstore is overwhelming—it's "a giant, candy-colored monument to our collective panic," as writer Jennifer Senior puts it. Why is parenthood filled with so much anxiety? Because the goal of modern, middle-class parents—to raise happy children—is so elusive. In this honest talk, she offers some kinder and more achievable aims.

TED: David Brooks: Should you live for your résumé ... or your eulogy? - David Brooks (2014)

Within each of us are two selves, suggests David Brooks in this meditative short talk: the self who craves success, who builds a résumé, and the self who seeks connection, community, love -- the values that make for a great eulogy. (Joseph Soloveitchik has called these selves "Adam I" and "Adam II.") Brooks asks: Can we balance these two selves?

TED: David Sengeh: The sore problem of prosthetic limbs - David Sengeh (2014)

What drove David Sengeh to create a more comfortable prosthetic limb? He grew up in Sierra Leone, and too many of the people he loves are missing limbs after the brutal civil war there. When he noticed that people who had prosthetics weren’t actually wearing them, the TED Fellow set out to discover why — and to solve the problem with his team from the MIT Media Lab.

© 2014   Created by FohBoh.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service