Local Produce Actually Local

Is Your Local Produce Actually Local?

By: Carly Chagas
October 5, 2017

We support local farmers through our product ingredients and try to shop local wherever possible. We do this because we want to support our local farmers and economy. A recent CBC Marketplace called “Farm Fresh?” found that some of the people at the markets they visited in Ontario were “reselling” produce.

Reselling is essentially the farmers purchasing produce from a wholesaler, such as the Ontario Food Terminals located in Toronto, and selling them as their own. This makes the produce no different than what you would buy at your local supermarket.

The biggest issue of all is that many farmers were making false claims about their produce and stating that they grew it themselves. Not only are they making these false claims, but consumers are choosing to pay a premium price for their produce believing that it is coming straight from their local farms. This is very disappointing from a consumer standpoint, but also from a local farm standpoint. There are many farmers that rely on farmer’s markets as their main source of income and they are having to compete with other vendors that are reselling.

States like California have strict legislation against reselling and making false claims about produce sold at markets. Unfortunately, nothing like that exists in Canada, yet. How are we supposed to determine whether what we’re purchasing is the real thing? Here are some tips that local farmers gave on the segment, in addition to some of our own thoughts:

Is the produce in season? Take a quick glance over this availability guide to help guide you on what’s in season before heading out to the market. Better yet, print it out and bring it with you! This month, you’re going to see lots of apples, pears, plums, root vegetables, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, pumpkin and more.

Inspect the produce. Did you spot any stickers on the produce? Does all of the produce look ‘perfect’ and uniform? Is there different company names on the boxes they are unpacking the produce from? These are all red flags that the produce might not be from where it says.

Start the conversation. Farmers love to talk about their produce and farms! They are proud of what they grow. So start a conversation and learn more about their farm and what they grow each season. Opening up the communication and building trust with your local farmers is a wonderful thing. You could even ask about where their farm is located and if it’s possible to have a farm visit.

We want to hear your thoughts! Do you think there should be legislation in Canada to regulate what produce is sold at farmer’s markets? Find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can also find us on Pinterest where we share our favourite local, sustainable recipes.