Its July and the weather is heating up, and so is the behind the scenes world of the Philly farmers' market scene evidently. As some of you probably already know, Three Springs Fruit Farm will not be attending Saturday's market at the Piazza at Schmidt's. If you are a regular customer of theirs on Saturday, you will be able to find them at the famed Greensgrow Farms for their Saturday market. This isn't the first defection from the Piazza this season and apparently it isn't without acrimony. Three Springs commented on the move on their Facebook page:
…we feel a lot more comfortable with the folks at Greensgrow - we already have a great relationship with those guys. At the Piazza, it felt like they were more concerned about the Farmers Market getting in the way of whatever else they had planned than they were concerned about providing good food for their residents and the community. e feel a lot more comfortable with the folks at Greensgrow - we already have a great relationship with those guys. At the Piazza, it felt like they were more concerned about the Farmers Market getting in the way of whatever else they had planned than they were concerned about providing good food for their residents and the community…We had started building some great relationships at the Piazza Farmers Market, but we felt like we were going to be limited in our ability to serve those folks - they wouldn't know where we'd set up from week to week, the hours of the market etc. - all things beyond our control. I hope that market becomes successful but I also hope that if you miss us, you'd come visit us just a few blocks north at Greensgrow.I wanted to get the manager of the Piazza Market, Kyle Perry's perspective on the comments from Three Springs. He had this to say:
We face a unique challenge at the Piazza. Not only are there logistics with the market-setup but also with other events, a wider scope of geography than what other markets have to deal with, a lack of totalitarian oversight, plus all of the other first-year market issues. Contributing to the issues are those farmers/vendors who are not willing to work with me and these issues, and who have visibly not been vested in the market. Facebook is an interesting site, and provides insight into relationships with others not already evident. Three Springs if I'm not mistaken last mentioned they were even attending our market last sometime in May. They consistently mentioned appearances at other markets. Peaches arrived last week at other markets, and in fact a blurb went out on their Facebook page that they would be available at weekend markets.So there you have it. When I first got into the whole "local food scene", I erroneously believed that everything was hearts and flowers and everybody got along with everybody else and everybody was a hippie. After visiting markets and meeting farmers and market managers and the like, I have found that farmers' markets are a business like any other. This doesn't surprise me or disappoint me - it is what it is. As long as I and others have access to fresh, local, nutritious food - fight it out amongst yourselves.
I posted on our page that information. Lo and behold, no Peaches for the Piazza. In other words it's been evident that we have been treated as a second-tier market by them, and also feel it was a bit influenced by "farmers market politics" in this city. In summary, we're happy with our remaining farmers/vendors who are seemingly committed to the success of the market.