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The squeeze at the farmers' market

(article, Culinate staff)

You may have noticed the phenomenon in your own town: the farmers' market where nobody seems to be shopping, or the tiny new market with only eight booths that nobody has yet heard of. As the New York Times noted recently, the market for farmers' markets has been wobbling around the country lately, with too many markets opening in recent years to meet demand:

bq. Nationwide, the number of farmers’ markets has jumped to 7,175 as of Aug. 5; of those, 1,043 were established this year, according to the federal Agriculture Department. In 2005, there were 4,093 markets across the country. . . . According to a study by Oregon State University, 62 farmers’ markets opened in Oregon from 1998 to 2005, and 32 failed. 

It's not just the customers who can't keep up; the farmers, too, have become more selective about which markets they'll join, cutting back when the effort (and the driving and the gas costs) become too much. Here's hoping the market mayhem sorts itself out.