As good a deal as it appears?
Interesting take on farmers' markets by Barry Estabrook on the blog of The Atlantic
yesterday. Estabrook tackles the argument that farmers' markets are "elitist" because the produce there is more expensive than the produce at supermarkets.
He notes the general lack of research to back up this thesis and reports that what research has been done suggests, if not the opposite, than a much larger gray area than many might suppose:
Non-organic farmers' market cantaloupe, cucumbers, lettuce, and peas were better buys than their supermarket counterparts. With the exception of eggs and potatoes, the other non-organic farmers' market items surveyed were between 10 and 20 percent more expensive. Conventional eggs were 43 percent more expensive and potatoes 58 percent more expensive--differences that Claro said were expected, given the economies of scale industrial-sized egg and potato producers enjoy.
Astoundingly, organic items at farmers' markets were nearly 40 percent cheaper than they were at neighboring supermarkets.
(In the excerpt above, Estabrook is discussing the findings from a report issued by the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont.)
The post is worth your read, and for a somewhat similar take on the subject, it's also worth revisiting "Tastes Like Chicken," that Brooke Foster wrote for the RFT
last year, comparing meals made from the same ingredients from Pete's Shur-Sav, Schnucks, Whole Foods Market and the Tower Grove Farmers' Market