Let’s Talk About: Farmer’s Markets

This is the third post in the Let’s Talk About series (a series of posts where I talk about my ideas on a variety of subjects, do some research, and occasionally present my findings). In this post, I talk about farmers’ markets and some advantages and disadvantages to shopping at them. Let’s stay honest though, Farmer’s Markets aren’t for everyone, so take this all well salted.

According to wikipedia, a Farmers’ Market is a physical retail market featuring foods sold directly by farmers to consumers. According to me, a Farmers Market is a magical wonderland of delicious treats, cheeses, breads and noms.

Payments

“All I want to do is pay for your services” – Everyone

In the past two years, I’ve reduced the amount of physical money I carry around to nearly zero. Apart from being totally unhygienic, physical money holds no place in the modern world. With the advent of the credit/debit card, mobile payments, and even cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, it just doesn’t make sense to carry physical money around ( unless it’s in a Signatur Vault! ).Unfortunately, this brings me to my first point. The absolute worst thing about a farmer’s market is the lack of card support. Instead, we’re often forced to dwell in the past, and pay with physical currency. #sadface

Money

Money

Payment support is absolutely vital. If I’m not able to pay for my groceries in a reasonable way, how am I expected to become a regular customer? Sure, there are some technical (and security) limitations to having mobile payment devices in a field, square, or piazza, but surely these can be taken care of by a form of mobile phone payment. (Does the Intuit GoPayment ring a bell?)

I have a local franchise shop beside me. It accepts card. It’s 5 minutes door-to-door. It’s looking mighty convenient in comparison. Buuuuuut…..

Quality

“It’s all about quality over quantity”

It’s hard to ignore the fact that most food sold at a farmer’s market is undeniably jaw-droppingly delicious! If it wasn’t, nobody would have much reason to return. Just look at these amazing dishes (sorry for the amateur food photography)

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 19.49.59

Feta and Black Olives From The Olive Company

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Sourdough from the Baker

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Rocket, Texel and Lambs Lettuce from the Leave Grower

Unfortunately, franchise chain stores simply cannot offer food at this quality. You might think it’s understandable, but it really isn’t. Chain stores promote the reduction in quality of food by making low-cost foods available. Chicken and Pork are affordable because they’re farmed so heavily.

Cost

Although counter-intuitive, buying expensive individually sold items actually saves in the long term. As an individual, will I need to have 5 onions in a week, probably not. Can I eat 10 chicken breasts before they go nasty in the fridge, certainly not. Sure, the price per item increases, but waste and overall-cost decreases. Its all a matter of how you want to measure cost. Cost isn’t solely a function of financial burden, but also one of waste, time and efficiency.

50% off

50% off

Sales

Sales are the absolute worst thing. Sales are designed to make you buy something you never wanted. Sure, it’s nice, but would you buy it at full price? If the answer is no, then put it back and look somewhere else. If you were going to buy it, perfect! Instant gratification is really not as gratifying as it sounds. Plan what you want in advance, and then when you finally get it it will be worth more to you. This is the age old value-cost paradigm, where value is (mis-)associated with financial cost. Again, cost is more than a simple evaluation of financial burden. Cost must also factor in waste, time and efficiency. If new shoes cost €100 in store A, but only €85 in store B, traditional cost logic would dictate that the store to buy in would be store B. What if it took 10 minutes to get to store A and three hours to get to store B? Does that change the calculation? It depends on the weighting of your personal cost factors. For me, three hours of my time costs significantly more than €15, so no logic holds where store B is the correct choice to buy these shoes.That being said, you can occasionally find offers, deals and even sales at a farmer’s market. Another reason to go!

Experience

Shopping is an experience. The best shops make you want to go back to shop there by delivering high quality product, good value, and a delightful shopping experience. Farmer’s Markets deliver on these by producing and providing Organic produce, cutting out large national marketing campaigns, and facilitating face-to-face discussions with growers, breeders, mongers and craftspeople of all kinds.

This is what I like. This is what i Love. This is why I return.

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