The alliance writes:
These suggested questions are quite similar to those asked by local grocery stores and restaurants of the farmers who supply their fruits and vegetables. Most stores require water testing, documentation of fertilizers used, organic certification documentation, documentation of worker safety and hygiene standards, etc. to protect their consumers and ensure they receive the safest foods possible. Most stores also mandate that conventional and organic farms are regularly audited to ensure compliance with food safety standards. Farmers who sell to local grocery stores and restaurants are also subject to stringent government laws and regulations regarding any pesticide usage which are verified through enforcement measures and federal and state product sampling programs. Vendors selling at farmers’ markets are not subject to the same scrutiny by any buying entity or the government, therefore it is up to the consumers themselves to ask these questions and learn more about how the food is produced.
Buying from farmers’ markets can be an enjoyable and satisfying experience. But adopting a bit of a “buyer beware” attitude is recommended – after all, your family is going to eat this food! So ask a few questions – real farmers will enthusiastically and happily answer them. If they don’t or can’t, it might be wise to find another vendor.
Read, learn, choose, but eat more organic and conventional fruits and veggies for improved health.
Consumers who go to a farmers market are on a feel-good field trip, and don’t want to entertain any notions that their trip is in vain. They have the scantest concern about food safety, though they should. The only thing the consumer wants the vendor to deliver is a really fine, overpriced tomato. A backdrop of a beat-up pickup truck and a straw hat might sweeten the deal.
But I have to admit it might be painfully funny – and more than a little revealing – to see these questions asked and see real farmers “enthusiastically and happily” answer them.