As discussed elsewhere in the guide, farmers’ markets are at a competitive disadvantage compared to other food retailers that may be open 24 hours per day, seven days per week. The competitive advantage that farmers’ markets have is the ability to offer just-picked, seasonal products direct from local farms. This is a requirement of state law for certified farmers’ markets, and, perhaps more importantly, it is part of what makes farmers’ markets special for many of their customers.
For customers who value the ability to support local farmers and who wish to know where, and from whom, their food comes from, it is a high priority for farmers’ markets to live up to their promise. Farmers’ markets which are not committed to maintaining the integrity of their markets and fulfilling their promise to customers, may find that their customers are no longer as committed to supporting the market.
As in any industry, the actions of a few within the farmers’ market industry can impact the impressions of consumers regarding all farmers’ markets. That is why it is a priority for many of the leading farmers’ market operators in the state that all farmers’ markets focus on maintaining the integrity of their own markets.