Just got back from East Goshen Farmers’ Market and it was packed and FABULOUS today. I have some beautiful produce and I bought a gorgeous Cinquefoil a/k/a Potentilla from Brogue Hydroponics.
But let us move on to other markets. Namely the hop scotching farmers’ market. You know, first it was at Anselma Mill (where it did so wonderfully well), then like magic it was going to move to West Vincent, only it wouldn’t really be in West Vincent, it would be in Upper Uwchlan. And then there was drama because nothing with West Vincent in the name can ever go smoothly or without drama.
Mind you the drama and issues were self-induced and I feel no pity to anyone but the poor farmers and food purveyors and residents they had so confused. Why do I say that? Simple: if the West Vincent Farmers Market had done things the right way, versus the West Vincent way there might actually be a farmers market in West Vincent now. D’oh.
So when the West Vincent Farmers Market Page did the heavy sigh and the itty bitty violins of pity came out today, come on now people you did it to yourselves.
I am glad the market is back where it belongs at Anselma Mill which is a REALLY cool place if you have never been.
Enjoy the photos. Little birdies took them for me. Not chickens, but birdies……Also noticed no Birchrunville Hills Farms Taste Our Feet at Anselma? Didn’t they used to be there? Also heard they were no longer a producer for the Phoenixville Farmers Market? Is the popularity of those overpriced food stuffs waning?
A final note so I am not farmers market incorrect, the Anselma Market is once again the Anselma Market, right? It is not something goofy like the West Vincent Farmers Market at Anselma, is it?
Anyway, no matter which market you prefer, thanks for getting out and supporting local farmers!
I decided a little more farmers market pondering was in order.
Farmers markets are a wonderful idea in their true form of promoting sustainable agriculture in communities and all that good stuff.
But lately there has been farmers market drama and intrigue which detracts from the positives.
The most recent drama involves West Vincent Township. But what did I expect it’s West Vincent and drama and intrigue go hand in hand, don’t they? Now if the folks who originated this market idea would just slow down, and if West Vincent would just do something the right way (as in the way everyone else does things and not their definition of the right way) there would be no drama and this market would probably be open already. But the horse is out of the barn on that one, so only time will tell.
The other market drama is the thing going on between the East Goshen Farmers Market and their former market managers who have started Malvern Farmers Market in the borough of Malvern and Downingtown under a for profit entity called Growing Roots Partners, which by their own description offers “farmers market management and event management in Western Philadelphia Suburbs”. They also say:
In addition to farmers market management, Growing Roots Partners also offers farm to table dinners, education in sustainable nutrition, event management, culinary and farm tours, and artisan craft shows.
From what I can surmise Growing Roots Partners is a for profit business model that I find oddly similar to my friend Janet Long’s Clover Market. And if that is the case, just woman up and admit part of what drives them is the all-American dollar. Who doesn’t get that?
Growing Roots Partners is dedicated to community education that nurtures the importance of sustaining our local agricultural food system.
As a weekly community event, our Farmers Markets offer vital economic opportunity to regional farmers and food producers while playing an important role in revitalizing a community’s economic profile.
But given the drama and who shot John over if you are in Malvern’s market you can’t apparently be in East Goshen’s Market, are they living their mission statement?
After all if you are pro-farm and pro-farmer how can you tell them if they want to sell in a particular market they basically have to be exclusive to that market and no other? And why is it Malvern Market sends people to “shop” East Goshen Market every week like it is a competition versus sustainable agriculture and connecting the community to local food sources, i.e. the localvore movement? Not only is that ethically and morally wonky in my opinion, we are a country based upon a free market system aren’t we? I mean wow that is like telling little girls they can’t be in a Brownie troop because it’s full but in fact you can’t deal with some of the moms, right? And who would do that?
I did not pull this drama out of thin air, I have had farmers and other food vendors tell me and people I know flat-out that this is the case. As a matter of fact someone from where I used to live whom I do not speak to very often called me this week after she had a similar kind of conversations with a vendor who participates in Oakmont and Bryn Mawr Farmers Markets, which are Farm to City Markets. They called me up because when they had asked a couple of farms if they were doing East Goshen this year their was this long dance and mumbling about how it all got “too political” so they were doing Malvern instead. How embarrassing that they are even talking about this drama in non-related Main Line markets, right?
And why is it o.k. that the Growing Roots folks have in essence poached a lot of farms and vendors from Farm to City Markets and that is o.k. (and they did it last year as East Goshen Farmers Market) but it is not o.k. for these farms, farmers , and vendors to go to East Goshen if they wanted to? East Goshen has crossover vendors with West Chester Growers Market and others and that is because that is the name of the game isn’t it? Exposure for farms, farmers, vendors and multiple market choices for the public is win-win for all? After all I don’t know about you, but don’t you have certain vendors or farms that are favorites and if you miss them at one market, you catch them at another?
Now to what started me thinking about this today. I still go once in a blue moon to Bryn Mawr’s Farmers Market which is Farm to City run. Not only because friends of mine were the driving force behind getting it established, but also because it is a nice market with some farms I really like. Anyway I received an e-mail this morning of who this week’s vendors/farmers this Saturday are:
Birchrun Hills Farm (yuck)
Canter Hill Farm (awesome farm)
Good Spoon Seasonal Foods
Jenny and Frank’s Artisan Gelato (super yummy)
John and Kira’s Chocolates (delightful but VERY tasty in price)
Philly Fair Trade Roasters
Sea Findings (new – fresh seafood, know nothing about them)
Shellbark Hollow Farm (hmmm one of the Growing Roots Partners partners, yes?)
Two Gander Farm & Apiary
Wild Flour Bakery
So now here is the line up for Growing Roots Partners Malvern and Downingtown markets ( I am not segregating by market, you can go figure that out if it interests you):
Blueberry Hill Farm (used to be at East Goshen and Bryn Mawr, also found at Oakmont)
Canter Hill Farm (at Bryn Mawr, and Bryn Mawr used to be their only market because they are small)
Down Home Acres
Down to Earth Harvest
Frecon Farms (used to be at Bryn Mawr and East Goshen)
Longview Center for Agriculture
Oley Valley Mushrooms (can’t remember if they were at East Goshen, Bryn Mawr or both)
Two Gander Farm (at Bryn Mawr)
dia Doce (used to be at East Goshen and was most recently at East Goshen’s Winter Market)
Laura’s (used to be at East Goshen and I know from the now closed food business Panache Foods)
Saint Peter’s Bakery
Birchrun Hills Farm (at Bryn Mawr and elsewhere – I personally do not care for and choose not to patronize this farm and their price points are also a bit steep)
Shellbark Hollow Farm (at Bryn Mawr)
FreshaPeel (at Bryn Mawr)
Jenny & Franks (at Bryn Mawr used to be at East Goshen)
John & Kira’s (Bryn Mawr, used to be at East Goshen)
MomPops (used to be at East Goshen, forget where else they are)
Naughty Nutty Love (used to be at East Goshen – good but price points are high)
Old Mill Gourmet
Pureblend (used to be at East Goshen, used to be at West Chester Growers Market – not sure if they still are, and are in Lancaster Central Market among others)
Vera Pasta (at Bryn Mawr and not sure where else – I make my own pasta so I do not buy a lot of fresh pasta from outside sources)
Ellen April (used to be at East Goshen I thing and has been at West Chester Growers Market and Kennett Square Market)
Veronica’s Doggie Delights (was at East Goshen and East Goshen winter market and Artisan Exchange)
So you see the majority of the vendors and farms and farmers at Malvern and Downingtown came to these markets from other markets didn’t they? Do we see those other markets making farms, farmers, and vendors choose in either overt or passive aggressive manners? And seriously Farm to City could be justifiably annoyed here right?
Look, what happened is simple: the women who used to run East Goshen developed a for profit business model to benefit themselves. That is totally cool, it is the American way in a free market economy. From what I understand, their business model is not how East Goshen Township wanted to operate their township sponsored market so they went in a different direction. That is East Goshen’s right.
So the former managers of East Goshen got their model picked up by Malvern and Downingtown so why can’t they be happy with that? After all why make so much issue with your home township of East Goshen? (at least one of the Growing Roots Partners partners lives in East Goshen do they not?)
I like going to multiple markets and would love to go to Malvern’s market but I just do not feel I can in good conscience do that until the farmers market wars which they seemed to have started calms down.
The ultimate point of this post is all these farms came to these markets because people either patronized them directly or found them at other markets. Local farmers markets on different days don’t have to be utterly exclusive, live and let live and everyone get over themselves and have crossover. After all Growing Roots Partners did not invent the idea of community farmers markets and therefore shouldn’t be able to demand exclusivity of farms, farmers, and vendors like that should they?
I missed East Goshen’s market yesterday but hope to get to West Chester Growers Market tomorrow. I also hear raves about Phoenixville’s market. I will tell you that I got the most fabulous shrubs and perennials from Applied Climatatology at the West Chester Growers Market. I also got fabulous herb plants from TWO produce purveying farms at East Goshen Market – Brogue Hydroponics and Sunny Slope Farm- I recommend them all highly!
Let me know where you farmers market and what some of your favorite farms and farmers are and why.
And I thought the drama surrounding farmers markets in my part of Chester County was enough.
Now there is more farmers market drama. But what did I suspect? Or expect if it involves West Vincent Township? Shall we just call it Miller’s Market to go with the Miller Towers in Miller Township and be done with it? Why in addition do the names Ann Marie Butera Cantrell and Sam Cantrell of Maysie’s Farm keep cropping up? Are they the movers and the shakers who are behind the move to West Vincent from Anselma Mill? Is the Anselma Mill Market really moving from Anselma Mill to West Vincent or is the Anselma Market closing and another market opening in West Vincent? Are you able to track this because I am sure having a hard time….
It has been a veritable who’s on first scenario. What is it about West Vincent that they can even (apparently) screw up a farmers market? I love farmers markets and they are an awesome addition to communities but you have to do things properly.
And what is the craziest thing of all with this farmers market? How about that the land proposed to be used might actually be in Upper Uwchlan Township? So if so, has there been a meeting there?
Who is sponsoring this market? Is it a local municipality? Is it a non-profit farmers’ cooperative, and if so are they registered as a non-profit? Or is it a for profit business model, and if so who is it and will they be paying the right taxes and fees, etc? Who will be responsible to the citizens of West Vincent (or Upper Uwchlan) in cleaning up the market? It is a little hinky on parking, so where will people park?
And who the heck ANNOUNCES a market as in signs, Facebook pages and so on and so forth that has not formerly been approved? I mean what kind of amateur hour romper room antics is this? That just makes people resent something that should equal a pleasant experience, and of course that lends itself to asking again who exactly is doing this market? And if it is a producers market that means all farmers have to grow what they sell right?
Seems to me there are a lot of questions and that this is something yet again that West Vincent is doing in a slap dash backroom deal kind of way, doesn’t it? Is there actual permission in tangible form from Upper Uwhclan? And why was the legal notice SO LAST MINUTE? Does the legal notice mean there is not quite the proper zoning for such an enterprise and if so who announces a farmers market with signs and Facebook pages if they don’t have the zoning in place?
What a shame is what I say. Farmers Markets are awesome for local economies…but when you don’t do things the right way, can it be said everyone suffers?
Farmers Market drama is so unnecessary. Sigh…Bravo could add a new series to their reality TV roster: “The Real Farmers Markets of Chester County“….
Here is what Chickenman has to say:
West Vincent Township has been actively working to bring a Farmer’s Market to the township’s Andrew Evans Park. Local farmer Sam Cantrell came to a township meeting on March 11, 2013 to request the use of the Township property.
There was a question pertaining to the park property being eased against commercial activity and Clare Quinn stated that there is no easement. It was supposed to be eased as part of the DONATION to the Township, but it was never done. While Clare Quinn answered truthfully, the Township did indeed adopt a resolution AGAINST commercial activity on the property that stands today.
The township eventually elected against using most of the park, but there is just over 2 acres next to Rte 401 that the township purchased from Newt Evans and is allegedly not part of the resolution. The part of the park is actually located in UPPER UWCHLAN TOWNSHIP. There are some improvements that need to be made. In the last couple weeks, a pipe was installed in order to cross a drainage swale. Surveyors have been hustling around the location in the last week. I see signs have been popping up.
This operation has NOT YET BEEN APPROVED. Who is paying for these improvements? You are. Sustainability is a buzzword in West Vincent Township. Does Sustainability mean that the taxpayer need to underwrite the expenses of the local farmers?
Wait! It will be more than Farmers. It may be crafters, also. Here is the Farmer’s Market Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WestVincentFarmersMarket this operation is required to be approved by the township of Upper Uwchlan and according to the video, a permit was issued (according to Ken Miller), against the zoning of Upper Uwchlan Township. Is Upper Uwchlan is starting to become like West Vincent by ignoring their laws? Did they really issue a permit? Here is the pertinent section of the West Vincent Township meeting about the Farmer’s Market:
I urge everyone to watch these videos. In Part 1, resident Frances Ellis points out that the use does not meet the criteria set forth in Upper Uwchlan zoning. In Part 2, Ken Miller is anxious to vote on this issue. The issue is discussed as if it has already been approved. Ken Miller becomes very upset when counsel advises against voting on the Farmer’s Market. It sure seems like this is a done deal, in the face of questioning that this clearly does not meet Upper Uwchlan Zoning.
What is the rush? Ken Miller needs a new outlet for his goods? This is his chance to move into a Farmer’s Market at no or little cost, at least to him. There will be plenty of cost to the township taxpayer as this moves forward. I am not against a Farmer’s Market, I think they are great. But it has to be a legal operation. Pearl’s Farm Market was shut down years ago because it’s location on Rte. 100 at Horseshoe Trail did not meet zoning.
Additionally, why does the government (the taxpayer) have to finance someone else’s business? Rent the property, cover the expenses for ALL the improvements and costs. I have not seen any township video discussing how the township expenses are going to be covered. Better yet, do it on private property, where the rental income can be taxed, which supports the government operations.
There is a special township meeting currently advertised for Monday night, June 3 at 8:00 pm, (see attached), to vote on the Farmer’s Market. If you want to find out what the meeting is about, or just wish to be aware of what’s happening, you should attend. But I bet I know how it will turn out.
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