The Farmers Market (Pickering) open Tuesday during the summer may be in decline.
When it opened a few years ago, this local farmers market was a little treasure of produce, baked goods and other eatables. Over the years, complacency may be the newest product added to the vendors’ stalls.
Not too many years ago, shopping at the local farmers’ market across the street from the Pickering Public Library was a food shopping pleasure. Quality produce, excellent baked foods, freshly picked fruits and vegetables grown locally, possibly less than 100 km away and all sold at reasonable or prices competitive with the big grocery warehouses nearby.
No longer. Complacency has become an added product for sale. The prices have escalated slowly but inexorably. The competitive pricing is gone. The quality, sadly sinking to decreasingly lower standards each week. We bought a blueberry strudel last week. Our expectations were that the filing would be canned but the crust would be homemade. What a disappointment. The filling was what we expected and we were willing to accept. The crust, cardboard flakiness, tasteless baked dough, an unacceptable commodity. This is not what we are willing to pay for.
At another recent event in Pickering, we sat with a number of people whose complaints mirrored our own. One person opined that the market is on the decline. Another agreed, “Its better days are in the past.” Six locals, each a knowledgeable consumer, all with similar complaints about the decline of the market.
Eventually, the vendors will get the message as their sales diminish. The products are not as good as they used to be; the prices, no longer as competitive. In fact, many of the products are plainly overpriced. The consumer is paying too much for too little.
The days of the local market are numbered. Our hope is that our GRIPE may help alert the vendors that it’s time to return to the good old days of quality goods at competitive prices. We’ll buy again when we believe the market has got the message!