Getting the Real Deal at Farmers Markets

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Mark Payton

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Mark Payton

I love going to farmers markets and I’m thrilled we have so many fantastic options here in Chicago.  Even in an urban environment, it’s a tremendous way to connect with the people who grow our food. 

After all, we should all have a better appreciation of the people behind the produce.  And that’s starting to happen:  perhaps you read my earlier post  Are Farmers the New Celebrity Chefs?

Although just as farmers markets are enjoying a surge in popularity, there appears to be some scrupulous activities going on in some markets.  Check out this amazing investigative piece False Claims, Lies Caught on Tape at Farmers Markets that was conducted by the NBC station in Los Angeles.

How sad.  Hate to think this is happening. 

So how do you know if a farmer is selling locally grown produce that really came from his farm?  Here’s what the NBC journalists recommend…

Operators of farmers markets we spoke to suggest shoppers get to know vendors they buy from, and ask them a lot of questions.  Ask for the exact location of the farm where the produce is grown. If they claim their produce is “pesticide-free,” ask them what methods they use to control pests on their crops. Ask exactly when the produce was picked. If the farmer can’t give you specific answers, or seems unwilling to answer your questions, market operators say you should walk away.

Good advice.

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