Issue in Edmonton about "foreign" product being peddled at a "farmer's market".Farmers' market feud over foreign fruit
Organizers of the downtown farmers' market are considering changes after some have raised questions about international produce showing up in vendor stalls.
While many of the stalls stick to local produce, some include wholesale fruit or products from the United States, no different than what could be found in a grocery store.
Farmer Steven Suto says the downtown market should stick to selling fruit that was grown in Alberta and B.C. — not south of the border. “It affects us right now,” says Steven Suto, who drives in from B.C. to sell fruit from his family farm. “It hurts our sales.”
Suto says vendors can bring in fruits like peaches that aren’t yet in season in Canada.
“We've been told that we can sell U.S. products, to bring it in, and we say why bring it in? Customers come to us because of our honesty.”
Suto says the rules allow vendors to sell fruit from the U.S. if it’s clearly marked as such. He’d like to see the rules changed.
It’s a change that some shoppers are calling for, too.
Sarah Baptiste was shopping for vegetables with her husband Saturday afternoon. She says she thinks the market should stick to Canadian fruit.
“I'd rather buy Canadian fruit and vegetables, and if you can't get it because its not in season then you don't need it,” she said. "That's the whole point of the farmers' market."
Rules will change next year
Market organizer Dan Young says it’s a problem that the city market is well aware of.
Young says under Alberta’s rules, market’s must have 80 per cent of their products made by the vendors, while the other 20 per cent can be bought elsewhere and resold.
“[The farmers' market] is essentially made up of people who make it and bake it and grow it. They’re the kind of folks that we want to attract to our market,” he said.
Young says the downtown market allows vendors from Alberta resell fruit from B.C., which has a longer growing season.
He says market organizers are hoping to have fewer re-sellers next year, and instead attract orchards in B.C. to come to Edmonton to sell the product themselves.
“So when the customer comes, they can talk directly to the [producer].”
However, Young says organizers are creating new rules for the market next year with the aim of keeping fruit from south of the border out of the downtown market.
“The plan is to have zero American fruit, that is the plan … that's on the books for next year,” he said.http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/ ... fruit.html