With the resurgence of farm markets, what's good for the consumer is good for the grower.
Markets that bring an often-dizzying array of vendors and shoppers together are, of course, nothing new. As a postwar bride in the 1940s, my Scottish-Irish mother was determined to make some dishes her Greek husband would like. She searched all over Detroit for authentic Greek olive oil and finally found it at the historic Eastern Market, which to this day is known for its fresh and unique variety of vegetables, fruits, flowers and specialty foods. A friend's grandfather used to bring his crops from their farm to sell from their open-air stall at the Eastern Market every Saturday.
Somewhere along the way, it became the norm to get your produce at a big supermarket, grown by who knows who using who knows what and shipped in from who knows where. For a while, the South Side Farmers Market was the only buy-fresh-eat-local game in town. That's hardly true today, and Bonnie Blackburn will take a closer look at local farm markets in the August issue of Fort Wayne Monthly.
In the meantime, I'd like to hear from the gardeners who grow and peddle their wares at said local farm markets. What sells the best, and why do you think that is? What is your biggest challenge? What do you wish customers understood about what you do? How has being a vendor changed the way you garden?
After the Great Greek Olive Oil Search of 1947, Mom was advised by one of her new in-laws to use Italian olive oil instead. And Dad learned to love Irish stew.