Archive for July, 2008

Guess I better explain my letter to the editor!

It appears as though my letter to the editor of the Herald-Leader newspaper has brought up some questions.

http://www.kentucky.com/595/story/466161.html

Many of the emails that I have received are asking me where I thought the problems the market had, came from. Here’s my reply, and yes…I am sending them out just as written to everyone who wants a reply.

“Well, in my opinion it started about 5 years ago when Janet Eaton with the Kentucky Ag. Dept. suggested that the board (I was on it at the time) use the services of Larry Snell, Kentucky Center for Cooperative Development, to show us how to better the market.  He made many suggestions one being that the market change the way the ByLaws were written.  The board worked almost an entire year trying to come up with new bylaws with his guidance.  There were only two of us, myself and Jane O’Tiernan, who thought they were going in a wrong direction.  The new bylaws gave the board the right to do anything without having to ask the farmer membership…including changing the rules at will.  The board was told that we had to put up a united front on the day of the general meeting in which the membership got to vote on the new bylaws.  I stood up and advised everyone to read them carefully.  Unfortunately, I think everyone was confused and befuddled at the time and when one, soon to be on the new board, person called for a point of order the vote went through and the farmers lost any rights they ever had. 😦  In my opinion, it’s gone downhill ever since.

Farmers were not allowed to discuss market business amongst themselves.  In fact, Jane O’Tiernan was kicked out of the market after 18 years of selling there for voicing her opinion to a customer!  She was never even given the chance to defend herself.  Roger Postley was kicked out just two years ago for questioning the wording in the membership agreement.  The old rules supported farmers and I just don’t feel like the new ones…or the ones they write on the spur of the moment, aid the small farmer or producer.  It would have cost Drew and I $400 on January 1st to join the market and then $40 everyday that we set up.  Small farmers cannot afford that!  I know for a fact that the majority of the farmers would never have voted for that.
 
The market manager makes a very good salary for what little he does.  Volunteers used to do it all and in my opinion they did it better!  The atmosphere at the market has totally changed and there are “favorite” farmers who can do anything while other farmers are told they can’t do the same thing.  Each farmer is allowed only two booths yet two of the board members have three!  When I questioned it, I was basically told to mind my own business.
 
We just decided that the market was a “job” vs. a fun experience and it was time for us to move on.  I wrote the letter to the editor because Leo Keene should not have made those remarks about the head of the Mayor’s Task Force for the Farmers Market…you don’t bite the hand that gives you free space!  He should have been kicked out immediately just like Jane and Roger.  But, no…he’s a “favorite!”  I think customers need to know that the farmers just don’t pull up their trucks and sell…the market charges them quite a bit.
 
I loved the market and I am thankful that I still get to see my farmer friends each Saturday.  It used to be a great market and I’m hoping it will be again…one where the farmers are smiling and enjoying their day.  It makes the customers enjoy it all the more.
 
So, now you know why I wrote the letter,
Karin 🙂 “

I can’t say any more or any less about my opinion and my reason for writing the letter. It’s simple…you do not bite the “knickers” of someone who has some control over who gets FREE space on a public road in downtown Lexington!!!

Here’s the link to the article that Beverly Fortune wrote in case you did not get to read it.

 

http://www.kentucky.com/179/story/452097.html

 

I guess I just feel that the whole idea of a farmers market…some place where real farmers and actual producers go to sell their wares, is being lost at the Lexington Farmers’ Market.  A perfect example was the wonderful, and don’t get me wrong…they were wonderful, Cheddar Snaps from Nancy’s Fancy.  I sampled some, had to have them and paid $8.95 for a box of what I thought was homebaked snacks.  I got home and looked at the box and realized that they were manufactured “for” Nancy’s Fancy!  Okay, it might have been Nancy’s recipe but according to the package she did not make them.  They were wonderful and I would buy them again…just not what I expected at a farmers market.  Kentucky is lucky enough to have a law that allows farmers to use their homegrown items and bake/produce in their kitchens..it’s a hands on thing!  I love it and praise the state for allowing farmers to add value added products to their offerings.  I just don’t think that items that the actual vendor has no “hands on” belong at a farmers market.

Maybe I am wrong, but I hope not.  Like I said, it’s only my opinion.

Having said all of that I will once again say that you can’t beat a farmers market.  It’s the very best place in the world to meet folks, get to know the grower, buy local which really helps the economy and to just plain enjoy the flavor of real food!  I will continue to shop at the Lexington Farmers’ Market with gusto..in fact I even printed out customer review cards for farmers to display.  They told fellow customers just how wonderful those items that I purchased the previous week were.

Yes, I support a real and honest farmers market.  The Lexington Farmers’ Market was a fun and exciting place to shop and sell.  I just think it’s lost that farmer feel and I apologize to Katie Kriegel for her years of work trying to make it the best market around..she succeeded and now that feeling is gone. 😦

BTW, this is just my honest opinion and I respect anyone who feels as though the Lexington Farmers’ Market is a place to find only local foods.  The great thing is we are all entitled to our opinions.  Please continue to support the “real” growers and producers…they depend on you for their living!

 
 
 

 

 

 

July 21, 2008 at 11:48 am Leave a comment