I too agree that most people would benefit from shopping in a farmers market.

But, I'm not going to tell you to because you'd be supporting local farmers even or because you would be helping small businesses (one of the founding parts of our country). I think that people should shop at farmer's markets because they enjoy it. I firmly believe that once you start, you'll be hooked. Try it, you'll like it.

At a market one gets to pick their variety of foods in a fresh, open air setting as opposed to the closed, stale environments of supermarkets. I think, and I do not believe I am alone, that buying food, that which keeps your body alive, should be done a bit closer to nature, besides, the fresh air won't kill you. I cannot possibly imagine any significant reason that someone would buy his or her produce in a supermarket.

I think that in this case, and possibly others, dman is responding just for the purpose of being a contrarion. He just wants to disagree with someone. This, in and of itself, is not necessarily bad. Playing the role of devil's advocate is a useful task and keeps the rest of us on our toes. So I'll respond to his 'points'.

Unlike you, many people in the world are struggling just to get food.

A well-known fact. You make it sound like the author of the previous write-up is not aware of this. He is not saying that everyone should shop at a farmers market out of some sort of sense of moral obligation; he is not claiming that everyone should shop there, even if it means them struggling more. He is merely sharing his views on the subject, saying that he enjoys shopping at farmers' markets and perhaps subtly hinting that others might enjoy it too.

And a vast majority of the people who don't have to worry about getting food are too busy to waste an entire afternoon looking for a bushel of "organic wheat" or a bag of "sea salt".

Several different points here. Firstly, it doesn't have to, in fact, it shouldn't take an entire afternoon shopping for produce. Most markets I've been to you can get in and out, with your goods, in 20 minutes, 40 minutes max. You are in control of your own time. If you want 'to waste an entire afternoon' then its your choice. Go for it. Secondly, when one goes shopping, it is usually for a decently long list of items. One rarely goes shopping for just 'a bushel of "organic wheat" or a bag of "sea salt"' but again, if you want to, its your prerogative.

Yeah, the quality sucks. I wish I had the time to go to Ithaca, get some fresh food and cook it myself, but I am busy. So screw it.

Now this sentence is interesting. You say things here, that you 'wish I had the time to go to Ithaca, get some fresh food and cook it myself' implying that you would enjoy the fresh food process. This is good. You also say that 'the quality sucks' referring to 'the faceless Cornell Dining Corporation' but then, later on, you claim that 'Guaranteed quality' is a reason 'to buy from the man instead of Farmer Joe' a contradiction, I believe. I also notice that you add the tag phrase 'So screw it.' at the end of your sentance, perhaps you believe that by purchasing all of your food from a supermarket, just like everyone else, you are being a rebel somehow and screwing someone in the process. Interesting.

Now on to your bulleted list.

More competitive prices (I am on a college budget here)

This is not often the case. Sometimes, it will cost more to buy your food from a farmer's market, but I think that you always make up for the increase in price with the increase in quality. Sometimes, you get what you pay for.

Guaranteed quality

This is one of the weakest points up here. Not only indescriptive, but flat out wrong. One of the prime reasons to shop at a farmers' market is the increase in food quality. At a farmers' market the food is fresher. At a supermarket, the food has all been shipped in from who knows where over a long period of time, probably spending a lot of its time sitting in some dank crate in the back of the store. Quality at a supermarket is far from guaranteed. I have spent far too much time trying to return produce to a supermarket because it is stale, old, moldy or worse. Why do you think so many people spend so much of their time in supermarkets, poking and prodding at produce? Not because of the 'Guaranteed quality', I assure you. At a farmers' market they are directly responsible for the quality of their goods. I hardly think the district manager of your local Giant Eagle gives a rat's ass about the quality of the food he sells as he has no direct influence over it. He is concerned with marketing and sales. Coupons, TV spots, and checkout lanes, not proper sunlight or fertilization.

No hassle

This depends on your situation, location and an innumerable amount of other variables. Personally, I think that it's a greater hassle to wait in checkout lines, worry about how long this kale has been sitting here, deal with bad return policies than just go to the farmers' market and have 'Guaranteed quality'

Don't need to drive 30 miles out in the middle of nowhere just to get dinner.

That's right, you shouldn't have to. Most cities have a farmer's market relatively close. I live in a small city and there is one a 10 minutes drive away. This is just pure hyperbole. That said, it's not like you'd be going there every evening. Just buy enough food to last you for a week or so and you'll be fine.

I'd go on to say exactly what's so good about farmers' markets, but I think you can glean that from my refutal (Thanks Team Jet-Poop!).

Farmers' Markets have increased in popularity over the last decade and a half, and at least on the west coast of The United States, it seems like every town has one or two a week. But in gaining popularity, the Farmers' Market has changed what it is: it is neither primarily for farmers, or a market.

A modern farmers' market is usually held in a large, attractive park close to a city center, and usually runs for several hours, often on a weekend. Along with produce, there is usually prepared food from food carts, arts and crafts, informational booths for a variety of causes and events, live music (usually of a folksy or acoustic nature) and sometimes other artistic performances. Although it varies from market to market, most Farmers' Markets are a place for people to socialize and have fun, rather than a place to buy produce.

The appeal of a Farmers' Markets is that in smaller towns, they provide a weekly source of entertainment that might not be available elsewhere. There is also a rather low investment for going to one: someone can drift into a market, eat a burrito, listen to some music, and then leave, which is not the case if they were going to a concert. For many people, Farmers' Markets are replacing shopping malls as an experience that combines shopping with socializing and recreation.

As they have gotten more popular, Farmers' Markets have received some scorn due to the stereotypical nature of their clientèle (educated, young and white) and the almost smug attitude with which the wholesome nature of the event is approached. However, I think that having a place where people can socialize and enjoy art and music outside of the crass consumerism of a shopping mall is, on the whole, a good thing.

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