Monday, July 16, 2012

Farmer's Market Fail

Hubby and I decided to venture to a local farmer's market this past weekend, to get the kids out of the house, and pick up some inexpensive produce and other homemade goodies like pies, bread maybe, and whatever we could get our hands on as a good deal.

We were severely disappointed.

I haven't been to a farmer's market in years. I (incorrectly) posted on facebook that it had been since I lived in England, but while we were out and about, Hubby reminded me I used to go to the ones in Charleston. So, while I thought it had been like 7 or 8 years, it had really only been like 4 or 5 years since I'd been to one. Anyway, there were 2 for us to choose from; one was about 10 miles but a 30 minute drive to downtown Tucson... in the 'hood. The other was about 10 miles but a 20 minute drive up toward the mountains. We decided to take our chances with the mountain farmer's market.

We started the 20 minute drive, and I quickly started to question our decision because it appeared this farmer's market was in the middle of nowhere- some The Hills Have Eyes shit. Desert, tumbleweeds, torture and plenty of places to bury our dead bodies. We finally found it, and we saw a decent amount of cars, so we decided not to have wasted the 20 minute drive and park.

Now, you have to understand that we decided to go to a farmer's market because my past experience with farmer's markets has been nothing but positive. Produce was almost half the price of going to a grocery store because you were cutting out the middle man of the grocery store and going directly to the farmer. Handmade goodies like pies and bread are next to nothing because the people want to make sure they sell it instead of load 27 loaves of bread back into their car at the end of the day. And handmade art? They were setting up at a farmer's market, not having their own show at a gallery, so paintings were in the $20 range and handmade jewelry was next to nothing because there's 53 other handmade jewelry vendors.

We parked and started walking toward the vendors. There were a few outside booths set up before the (high class, I'm assuming) covered booths. The first thing I saw was some handmade mosaic tiles. Someone had painted and glued together fake gems and tiles to make a gecko. How cute... and $250 each. WTF? I can make those for about $10, and that's if I were to buy tile to smash instead of just find crap to smash. On to the next booth...

Handmade jewelry for $25 a bracelet; wood sculptures for $100 each; matted photographs for $50 each... where's the cheap crap? These people are set up in the middle of nowhere in the desert and are charging prices as if they are on the Vegas strip selling their stuff. Not what I had in mind. We saw the produce and
food stuffs at the end of the covered booths section, so I grabbed Hubby's hand and pulled him quickly there.

picture courtesy of
Loaves of bread for $6.50 each, jars of homemade salsa for $5.00 each, pies were $8 each... I was really getting pissed we had wasted the 20 minute drive. I got to the produce and started looking at the price chart someone had so painstakingly written on a bright neon poster board with magic marker... and no concept of correct spelling, spacing, straight lines or size of lettering. That's a good omen, right? Crappy sign means low prices, right? Ha! The joke was on me. Oranges for $2 a pound (our local grocer has them for $1 a pound), lettuce was $2.50 a head ($1 a head at grocery store), green beans were $2.50 a pound ($1 a pound), carrots were $3 a pound ($1 a pound)... and the headache continued. Where were the low prices from having cut out the middle man? Why on earth would anyone drive out here to bumf*ck nowhere to spend more on everything than at the grocery store which is right down the road from your house?

Yes, I understand supporting local businesses- I used to own my own store, so I'm a huge advocate for it. But, the local business owner also needs to try and compete somewhat with the big chain moguls... hell, at least make it seem like you are trying to compete, please. I would have bought from the produce seller at the farmer's market if his oranges were $1.50 a pound instead of $2, the lettuce were $1.50 a head instead of $2.50. But not when their prices are 300% or more higher than the grocery store. Screw that.

Yes, I understand the stuff at farmer's markets are handmade and usually organic, as well. To save $1.50 a pound on something, I'll wash it extra hard to get the pesticides off, I promise. Sheesh. And, I understand the zucchini bread you are selling at $6.50 for a small loaf is your grandmother's recipe, but how about you sell it at a price that wouldn't make your grandmother roll over in her grave. Try $3.50 a loaf and we have a deal. Give me a break.

We started to leave the farmer's market empty handed until we ventured into the last booth to check out some 'all natural handmade' bath products. Ahh, my serenity. Everyone remembers that I used to make all natural bath and beauty products, right? I know how much this stuff costs to make, and have mad respect for the people who take the time, and the headaches, to make it. The soaps were nice... a little pricey at $4 a bar, but I've made soap- it sucks. The lotions smelled amazing, and $3 for a 2 oz bottle of lotion... sold. Then the guy selling the stuff goes into his 'natural ingredients' speech and how the little bottles are 2 for $5... double sold for natural lotion. Natural lotions were hard as hell to keep together and not have separate, especially in this Arizona heat. I tested some of them, and they felt amazing. He talked a little more, we let The Girl pick out a bottle for herself, and I noticed my hands felt a little dry. That doesn't happen with all natural lotions... Hmmm. As Hubby as handing over our $5, I flipped my bottle over to the ingredients... full of alcohol, chemicals and artificial crap. You have got to be kidding me. In fact, I even recognized by the order the ingredients were listed, where the batch came from; it was an unscented bulk batch of lotion to which he just added fragrance and essential oils. I felt cheated. But, for 2 bottles for $5, and they did contain more natural ingredients than commercial lotions, I wasn't too pissed... I felt violated, but not too pissed.

We left the farmer's market and vowed never to go back. Not only was it not worth the 20 minute drive up the mountain, but I figured if the locals up there started to recognize us, we had a higher chance of becoming a skin suit one day... my kids are gorgeous and all of my tattoos would look amazing as a human coat. Can't risk it.

We haven't decided yet if we'll try the one downtown or not. After leaving the failed farmer's market, we ventured to an organic grocery store that was rumored to have the best produce section in town... $1 for a pound of oranges, $1 for a head of romaine lettuce, $1 for a stalk of broccoli, $1 per pound of green beans... now that's what I was talking about. And the place was packed, which is always a good sign.

For now I'll use my $2.50 bottle of non-all natural lotion, bake my own zucchini bread for not $6.50 a loaf, and keep my skin on my body, thank you.

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1 comment:

  1. I like the organic was cheaper. It must be a status thing. It's 'trendy' and therefore expensive. Ridic.