The Problem with Orlando Farmer's Markets
If you're disappointed with the produce in your local grocery store, perhaps you've considered going to one of the Orlando Farmer's Markets to get something fresh. It's a quaint idea. After all, this region has a deep history of agricultural production. Too bad we don't live up to it anymore.
This happens to me every so often. I get disappointed with the produce in my local Publix and think there has to be something better in town. After all, restaurants are getting decent product. Someone must sell it to consumers. If so, they aren't selling it at Orlando Farmer's Markets.
Instead, we find almost everything except fresh farm produce. Consider what you can find at the Downtown Farmer's Market at Lake Eola. Flowers, Jewelry, Massages, clothes, music and…as almost an afterthought, some produce. It's more like a fair – complete with crappy fair food for lunch – than a market that attracts farmers selling their produce.
It's not just the Downtown Orlando Farmer's Market that's suffering from this problem. When I visited the Sanford Farmer's Market, I found more kettle corn than vegetables. One vendor who had food even admitted to me that she just bought it at a produce stand so she could re-sell it at this market. She's not even a farmer!
Orlando deserves better than this, but we're not going to get it. That's because we've driven all of our farmers off their land. When I grew up in Orange County, we actually had orange grovers all over the place. Orange Avenue had orange groves. Things were appropriately named. Now you'd be hard pressed to find a remaining orange grove in Orange County.
Things change. I understand that the area grew and there simply isn't room for farmers in Orlando anymore. All I'm saying is that we should be honest. There is no such thing as an Orlando Farmer's Market anymore. We've shunned the farmers to other counties in Florida. It's time to admit the truth and call these things what they are – a waste of time.