This season marks our 3rd year as a vendor at the Hendersonville Farmers Market. Since it was our first market, we are definitely invested in it being the best market it can possibly be.
What you may, or may not know, is that we are now 1 of only 2 “producer only” farmers at the market. This means the two of us are the only vendors selling exclusively what we grow. As a result, we can tell customers exactly how something was grown, when/how it was harvested and what, if anything, has been sprayed (only organic certified in our case) on the different crops.
Unfortunately some of the other vendors try to be all things to all people. They call themselves farms, but do not grow a great majority of what they sell. Instead they go to auction houses, or regional distribution centers, to buy the produce they turn around and resell. In effect they are buying from commercial farms (probably not local) with no idea how the produce was grown. As long as they are upfront and honest about where their produce comes from, we have no complaints. We learned the first year that people wanting the least expensive “grocery store” produce, with no concern for where or how it was grown, are not our customers. Where we have an issue is when someone is less than honest about where their produce comes from. We feel this hurts the credibility of the market and places those of us who are selling only what we grow at a significant disadvantage.
When visiting a farmers market, whether it’s the HFM or another market, don’t be afraid to ask questions of the farmer before buying. How was it grown? Can we come and visit the farm? When did you harvest this? These are all valid questions and ones we enjoy answering, as we love talking about what we do and how we do it. In addition, be aware of what produce is in season here in Middle TN. If you don’t see it at a producer only vendor’s booth, chances are pretty good it was trucked in and not from around here.
We believe strongly in our slogan, “know your farmer, know your food” and think you do as well. Just know we appreciate you guys and love working hard to provide you and your families with healthy, all-natural produce!