Category Archives: market vendors

Findlay Market pictures

The first of three public markets that I will be visiting this week across Ohio.

Lovely Over-the-Rhine neighborhood in Cincinnati, the largest collection of Italianate buildings in the US.

Lovely Over-the-Rhine neighborhood in Cincinnati, the largest collection of Italianate buildings in the US.

Belgian brunch restaurant in O-t-R neighborhood, close to the Findlay Market.

brunch restaurant in Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, close to Findlay Market.

Seating at Findlay Market

Seating at Findlay Market

Welcome to Findlay, Ohio's oldest public market.

Welcome to Findlay, Ohio’s oldest public market.

Around the corner from the Findlay Market, Cincinnati's Public Market

Around the corner from the market

Mural at the Findlay Market

Mural at the Market

National 2013 Food Hub Survey-NFGN

Authored by Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems & The Wallace Center at Winrock International
From the Executive Summary:

Findings from the survey showed that food hubs across the country are growing to broaden the distribution infrastructure for local food. From the survey, 62% of food hubs began operations within the last five years, 31% of food hubs had $1,000,000 or more in annual revenue and the majority of food hubs were supporting their businesses with little or no grant assistance—including food hubs that identified as nonprofits. Financially, the most successful food hubs tended to be for-profit and cooperative in structure, in operation for more than 10 years and working with a relatively large number of producers. The values-based nature of food hubs makes it hard to judge many of them solely on their level of financial success.
The survey also revealed a number of persistent challenges and barriers to growth that even the most financially successful food hubs faced.
For example, many food hubs indicated their needs for assistance in managing growth and identifying appropriate staffing levels for their hubs. They also often pointed to their need for capital and other resources to increase their trucking and warehousing capacity.

NFGN Report

Sustainable Ag Trainings in the Deep South

Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network's trainings-2013

Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network’s trainings-2013

Louisiana – New Cottage Food Law (August 2013)

Sales are limited to $20,000 per year

Cottage food operations don’t need to get a license from their health department, but they do need to check with their county to see if any zoning requirements apply to them.

Operations do not need to collect any state sales tax, but they may need to collect local sales taxes (it is different for each city and county).

Only food items in these categories are allowed:

Cakes, Cookies, Honey, Jams & jellies -Preserves.

Unlike most states, Louisiana allows custard and cream-filled bakery products.

Louisiana – Cottage Food Law.

Rules are varied

I think most if not all managers of markets understand that other markets have different rules than theirs, but do your shoppers know? And have you ever updated them, in cooperation with your vendors?
Nearby markets should share rules so that they do not make their farmers follow different sets of rules for little reason. It’s amazing how many markets don’t even attempt to compare rules which makes it quite hard for vendors to remember which of their markets has rules against packing up early or who allows foraged items and who doesn’t. One of the main areas of contention among farmers is the amount of liability insurance that they are required to carry (when a market requires it); a farmer told me about three different levels of insurance that he was asked to carry, all of the markets within a few miles of each other.

On Being a Boss: Kristen Essig Takes Over at Sainte Marie – Eater Interviews – Eater NOLA

Below, is a link to an interview with a New Orleans chef who has embedded local purchasing into the very DNA of her kitchen.

The day I met Kristen was the day (2002? 2003?) that she interviewed to be our Crescent City Farmers Market (CCFM) Tuesday/Thursday market manager. She came to the interview with a slate of ideas and opinions backed up with a vitality that could not be denied. We were surprised that someone with her fine dining experience (and obvious ambition) wanted to work for our little organization, but she explained that she wanted to know all facets of the food system.
During her tenure, she can be credited with building our Green Plate Special program, which allows restaurants to come for a full month of Tuesdays to sell plate lunches to the shoppers at the CCFM and, of course, allows those chefs to understand the farmers and fishers better and to have long stretches to watch market vending in person.

As a chef, she came with a “shoot from the hip” framework and never stopped running the entire time she worked with us. Like anyone who has worked on the line at top restaurants, she was intimidating to some but we knew that she always led with what was in the best interest of our farmers and fishers. Through her, we understood the psyche of the chef better and started to realize that we should get to know the sous chefs and line cooks that were more often at the market and were on their way to the top position. Many of those have now become leaders of their own restaurant (why, like our friend Kristen Essig!) and almost all have become fierce supporters of those markets.

“As a line cook, you develop a relationship with vendors as they come in the back door, but actually working with the vendors at the market was a totally different thing. You’re working, really, with 20 small businesses, and they’re all trying to make certain quotas, and they all have certain amounts of product that they have to move. You develop strong relationships with these people—you learn that they have bills to pay, whose kid needs braces, etc.”

On Being a Boss: Kristen Essig Takes Over at Sainte Marie – Eater Interviews – Eater NOLA.

Ask away…

To follow up on Monday’s post on excellent questions NEVER to ask farmers at a market, here is a great site full of questions once SHOULD ask a farmer. I can envision these on a laminated card at the Welcome Booth or maybe on Facebook with a few listed weekly. Questions for farmers

Vermont Law School Helps Farmers Markets and CSAs

Good overview of the new Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School that Laurie Ristino is heading. I am honored to be part of one of their first grants to help markets, written in partnership with NOFA-VT. If the proposal is successful, legal resources will be written for markets and for CSAs over the next few years.

VT Law

Cleaver & Co. New Orleans

I just visited the newest member of the New Orleans localvore family, Cleaver & Co. a no-frills, full-service butcher shop. The posted educational information at this store is easily understood but when necessary, the staff is quite knowledgeable when it comes to more in-depth questions. It makes me think about how we communicate livestock issues and value within farmers markets; has the consumer education gone as deeply as it has for fruit and vegetable production? Should market managers explain the regulation and production issues in more detail than we have? Really, how much do market managers actually know about what unique issues these producers face, such as amount of land needed for grazing, treating animal illnesses naturally, finding healthy feed, selecting the right USDA processor when applicable and so on…



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