As we stroll around the market each Saturday morning, we catch bits and pieces of conversations between the market vendor and the customer. We also get questions and comments directly from the customer and sometimes feedback from the vendor. We, the market managers are there to support everyone; the vendor and customer. The Wildwood Farmers Market along with most every farmers market in the State is a “producer only” market. Today, we are going to focus on the produce. But the same policy will pertain to the meat, the eggs and so forth.
We enjoy connecting the community with the folks that grow and produce their food. We want to provide a place where relationships are created. We realize that everyone, each customer is going to find the producer that they enjoy and that meets their needs. We like to offer a quality and diverse selection of absolutely every fruit and veggie that we possibly can. Fruits and veggies that are fresh, seasonal and local to our area.
Keep in mind, even in our 100-150 mile radius different folks have different soil composition, different amounts of rainfall, little to no rainfall, newer farms, older established family farms, heated green houses, protected hoop houses, and open gardens and farm fields. Some are full time farmers, some are hobbyists, some have to have that second job in order to farm. There’s quite a variety of “farmers” at our farmers market each week.
As market managers we have a responsibility to insure honest and open communication with our vendors and our customers. We enjoy talking to our farmers about what they grow and how they grow it. We enjoy visiting the farms. It keeps us connected and creates a relationship with our vendors. Which in turn reflects in our ability to communicate and engage the customers.
As managers, we thought you the community, would like to know what our producer only policy is. We want you to be assured that we all do our very best to work to together to be respectful of this policy. The produce at the Wildwood Farmers Market is not produce that is being resold from “Produce Row”.
Below is some of the information and questions I sent to our vendors this week.
The market is a place of commerce and a place of relationships-
On a weekly basis we should be able to provide the community with a great assortment of quality products. The community expects these products to be grown by the person at the tent or a person representing that farm. If there is resale produce at a vendor table, we trust that the vendor has gone through all proper procedures in accordance with the market guidelines. These products must be locally grown, seasonal and of fresh quality. We encourage each vendor to engage in fair and honest communication about their products. We encourage relationship building between all vendors and customers in the market place to create a positive community event.
The Wildwood Farmers Market Is A Producer Only Market
First and foremost- Only bring what you grow or produce yourself
There are a few exceptions
1) If NO ONE else at the market is growing or producing a local, seasonal fruit or veggie (examples-melons, berries, corn) that we think the customer wants, then call us. We may have a producer vendor lined up already or one of our current vendors may have it coming in next week.
2) If you are given permission to bring in produce from some place other than your farm, do you know who is growing or producing that fruit or veggie that is on your market table? Can you tell the customer the name and location of where it came from, if you did not produce it yourself?
All produce/all food must be traceable. We must always know where the food comes from (exactly). At the market, we need more than an ID sticker from the auction or warehouse.
3) Is it still local? (as in Missouri/Illinois or really close to the Missouri border.
4) Contact the market managers When customers ask questions or have concerns please let us know so we can work together to resolve the concern.