Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Santa Barbara Farmers' Market
The market is full of wonderful local and often exotic produce -- artichokes, chirimoyas, dates, citrus, greens of all sorts, avocados, strawberries grown just up the road, and early cherries from the Central Valley. There are Japanese, English and conventional cucumbers and many other interesting varieties of vegetables that usually aren't differentiated.
The prices at this market seem very fair: less expensive than comparable quality in a grocery store -- in the rare cases that you could find comparable quality. Example: two large very fresh heads of lettuce for $1.50, a lower price than not-quite-as-fresh local lettuce at Lazy Acres, not even more than mass-produced lettuce at Albertsons. Fruit was somewhat less expensive per pound than the grocery store items.
Today I read an encouraging article about a comparison of prices at farmers' markets and grocery stores (admittedly in Vermont). The study suggests that the common view that farmers' markets are expensive and elitist is false. It "found that prices at farmers’ markets were lower for many conventionally produced grocery items than they were at supermarkets. For organic items, farmers’ markets beat grocery stores every time hands down."