Saturday morning, at 8am, I drove to the downtown Phoenix Farmer's Market, in search of organic hummus, humanely raised eggs, and (if I was lucky) some organic celery. What I found greatly exceeded my expectations.
Located between Peirce and McKinley streets, the Downtown Farmer's Market operates 8am to 1pm every Saturday, and 4pm to 8pm Wednesdays. Though it was a 15 mile drive to get there, I figured ANYTHING had to be better than the pathetic little West Side Farmer's Market Failure that I sadly found last May, being in the center of a 4 million person population center. Indeed, it was so much better.
4 different local farmers, selling eggs at $5 a dozen. 1 hummus vendor. 3 local green grocers with every vegetable that the large grocery stores carry + more. 1/2 a dozen olive oil or salsa or pepper sales booths. Local cheeses, soaps, flowers, cat grass (for feline fiber), salmon, tilapia, quail eggs, honey, breads, pastries, tortillas, cacti & succulents, and various different craft items (jewelry, art, etc). Parking was sort of a pain - but it was the center of a large city, so that is to be expected. Getting there via bus would have taken 3 hours, and getting back by bus, would have been both cumbersome and hazardous to the cool 2 dozen eggs I purchased.
JustJoeP to a local farmer: "how many hens do you have laying?"
Local Farmer: "128, but that's only because last year we got 200 chicks when many of our customers said 'we'd love to buy chicks from you' and only 2 people actually bought any. Between the hawks, and eating a few ourselves, we're down to 128 now a days. Normally we keep about 60."
Then, 50 feet away at another booth...
JustJoeP to another friendly local farmer: "do all of your hens have their beaks?"
Local Farmer #2: [with surprised and alarmed look on his face, and in the voice of Big Gay Al] "they have their beaks, their own hen house, and 100 acres on which to graze"
JustJoeP: [with a knowing smile] "a little more than the USDA required 'window or door then?'" [chuckles]
LF2: "don't get me started on the USDA and their 'free range' ratings" [B.G. Al beginning to look very disgusted]
And to a third farmer, another 50 feet away:
JustJoeP: "what time do you normally run out of eggs on Saturdays?"
Local Farmer #3: "usually by 10am, we're completely sold out, no matter how many dozen we bring. On Wednesdays, 'bout all we sell is eggs."
All of the farmers encouraged their customers to bring back their cartons for recycling. All of the farmers were within 50 miles. Trader Joe's "free range" eggs are inhumanely sold for $4.99 a dozen, and they're medium, not large sized. I'll stick with the downtown Phoenix Market from now on.
I need to ask around if any of them sell unpasteurized milk on the down 'down low'...
1 year ago