Bigger is Better?

While many farmers markets are restricted to local products only, the Minneapolis Farmers Market allows resellers with non-local produce and wares to participate. While it may fly in the face of strict direct farm-to-consumer marketing, the larger overall size and greater number of options at the Minneapolis market draws out many more vendors and attendees than I’ve seen at other markets.

This approach may be behind their success in maintaining both a daily market and a downtown weekly market, with a season that is 26 weeks long. In offering consumers so much choice, the market is more mainstream and therefore more accessible to Joe Public. If I insist on buying oranges, I can also get my locally grown green onions, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, and squash right there.

The biggest benefit may be that people who might not think much about eating local do, because it’s there. It’s a bit like hiding finely chopped vegatables in the spaghetti sauce so kids will eat them, unwittingly.

Increased sales, as a result of thoughtful consideration or simple convenience, can only have a positive benefit on the local agricultural economy.