Today marked the annual opening of the Nyack Farmer's Market (or, as it's known in our house, the Luxury Goods Market). Let me paint a picture or three for you. 1. When I was a kid (before high school, so in the 1980s) my parents would often shop at the fledgling Ventura Farmer's Market. Summers on the central coast can be gray and cool, and Farmer's Markets weren't really hip in the 80s, but there were at least 10 different farmers selling produce there every week. There was usually a band or two playing too, and my dad would often stop to listen, clap, or, if possible, join in. 2. In graduate school Robert and I went to the Santa Barbara Farmer's Market every week. The SB market was a particularly nice one, and there were over 50 different farmers who sold there. One time we bought a baby grape vine of unknown type. The farmer assured us it was "One of five delicious varieties!". 3. The first place we took Zion after he was born was the Ojai Farmer's Market. He was 2 weeks old, and rode in the sling the whole time. The farmers from whom we regularly bought (and had lovely friendly relationships with) were delighted to see him (and to a lesser degree, us), and showered us with gifts including free strawberries and handmade beeswax candles.
Now, as far as I can tell the emphasis at a good Farmer's Market should be on farmers. Other items, such as bread, flowers, plants, and fish are nice bonuses, but they aren't what farmers usually produce (at least not as a main event) so....yeah.
Fast forward to now. I live in Nyack. And to put it bluntly, the Nyack Farmer's Market sucks. There is literally one, yes ONE farmer who comes (later in the season there are sometimes two, it must be admitted). There is are people who sell pickles, meat, wine, jam, oils and vinegars, plants, cheese, two bakeries and...one farmer. It makes me want to cry. Hell, it probably makes Little Baby Jesus cry. The kids and I went today and the grand sum total of all local produce available to us at our Farmer's Market was: apples (last seasons, obviously), rhubarb, and some weak looking asparagus. Did I mention the crying? Thank G-d for the asparagus, or I probably would've broken down right there. And I can't lie, I was looking forward to that rhubarb something fierce. Counting days and all.
Now I don't mean to disparage the effort of the organizers, or of the vendors at the market (most/all of whom sell a fine product). The market is better than nothing. But it's also why we buy shares in the Hawthorne Valley Farm CSA. I suspect there's not enough local support for local food (surprising, since Nyack is kinda upscale, kinda trendy, kinda hippie- just the demographic for local food, I'd think)- Hawthorne Valley used to have a drop off site in our county, but quit it last year since there weren't enough members. Work to be done...