Forget farmer's markets - go to Tesco
But this is the way at farmer’s markets - the minute people see a blackboard with ‘Artisan’ written on it, they lose their minds and spend a fiver on a loaf of bread that tastes exactly the same as the one you get from the shops.
Actually, it COULD be the one you get at Tesco. That’s because a lot of small producers - who charge you through the nose for a tomato or a pie at a farmer’s market- are also flogging their stuff to the major supermarkets.
So just because it’s sold to you by the producer from a gingham cloth, it doesn’t mean you can’t find the same product cheaper in a shop.
For example, Green’s of Glastonbury cheese, which sells at various markets, is actually owned by West Country Cheese, which supply to Waitrose. The Five Ways Fruit Farm, who appear at 200 markets around the UK, also sell to Asda.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that. Producers obviously have to factor in the cost of a market stall, transport and labour, and supplying to supermarkets is cheaper, but even so – customers think they’re buying something unique and special.
And apparently behind your average farmer’s market, there may also be devilment and subterfuge. It’s common for farmers looking to supplement their stock to pass off Spanish fruit as home grown, and buy potatoes with mud on them for that authentic rustic look. Meanwhile, provenance-obsessed dimwits snap it all up, in pursuit of culinary perfection.
Obviously, we don’t need to be told that Farmer’s Markets are an expensive business, but it seems that people should be told that lots of small producers aren’t really that small at all - and that you can buy two packs of their precious, astronomically priced hand-cured bacon for a fiver at Ye Olde Sainsburys.