So I was looking for information on a farm I like at East Goshen Farmers’ Market this morning and put “East Goshen Farmers Market” into Google and hit enter. What came up somewhat surprised and shocked me for the petty of it all. The OLD East Goshen Farmers Market page that was from when the “ladies’ of Growing Roots Partners was running it. The http://www.eastgoshenfarmersmarket.blogspot.com/ .
O.k. so I could get it when it was earlier in the season and everyone is running around pre-markets to set up that this should stay up, but now? Now it is just sour grapes on the part of Growing Roots Partners. I think (and it is o.k. for me to have this opinion) that they are just being petty at this point. They leave the OLD site up just to confuse and make people think that East Goshen no longer has a farmers market. Talk about PMS (Post Market Syndrome).
Growing Roots Partners should exhibit some style and take what they want off their OLD east Goshen site and then take the blogspot down – it is the right thing to do.
I will note that I checked out the market last weekend in Malvern. I found it cramped and constipated and it sort of had an “urban” feel. And it also wasn’t very crowded and last Satuday was a beautiful morning. Yes there were farmers I had missed but the layout of the Malvern market is such that I will still go find those farmers elsewhere (if they are allowed to be elsewhere).
I like to support all markets, but on Saturday mornings my preference is still the West Chester Growers Market for a weekend market. It is not a huge market, but it is well laid out and flows.
When Malvern Farmers Market’s owners Growing Roots Partners grows up I will be happy to check out that market again. Their market layout seems to reflect the market managers’ personalities. Sorry I don’t like petty and leaving an old website up to deliberately confuse the public is wrong. And I don’t want to hear they don’t know how to take it down because that is why they call it “push button publishing” – it is so simple a five year old can take it down.
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.