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What makes a great farmers' market?

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What makes a great farmers' market?

Gary Soup | Aug 14, 2005 12:34 PM

This thread is a spinoff from a forgettable digression on the San Franciso Board, wisely quashed by the Minders, in which I qualified my dissenting (from most) view of the San Francisco Ferry Building Farmers' Market and Market Hall by mentioning that I considered Montreal's Jean-Talon Market to be a good model for a market. This brought a response questioning the ability of the Montreal region to deliver good produce at all, which was not the subject of my digression, though of course I snapped at the bait.

In order to generate more light than heat on a topic of interest to most Chowhounds, I threw together a nominal 10-point list of considerations I think are important for a good farmers' market. In APPROXIMATE order of importance (mothers, don't shoot me!) the list came out as follows:

1. Quality and variety of produce (subject to Mother Nature's indulgence, of course)
2. Affordability to a large portion of the economic spectrum
3. Availability (daily versus once a week)
4. Centrality of location
5. Transportation accessbility
6. Physical layout (visibility and circulation)
7. Quality, affordability and relevance of supporting facilities (i.e., shops and restaurants)
8. Purposefulness (what do body oils and candles have to do with eating?)
9. Attitude and helpfulness of vendors
10. Child/infant/handicapped friendliness

What are your views on the relative importance of these factors? What would you add, or even subtract? Please avoid politics (which would get me in trouble FAST) and specific, like the incomparable heirloom rutabagas at your local farmers' market, but DO include examples you've seen of good practice.

Link: http://eatingchinese.org

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