Farmers' Markets Will Be Commodities Soon?

To some people, Farmers’ markets, such as those that visit Winchester on a monthly basis, are an interesting part of a day out. Browsing round provides the opportunity to buy bread, cheese, beer, jams, and other such produce that’s no doubt better than most of what the local supermarkets stock. Many people get stuck on particular brands (read: particular stalls), because they prefer them, and go back again and again to the same place.

However, for myself, these stalls are becoming commoditised. In the same way as organic produce was rare in supermarkets 10 years ago, and is now commonplace, it appears that more and more such markets are springing up in rural, affluent, areas such as Winchester, as the local economy becomes able to support them and farmers learn how profitable they can be. In fact, I rush round such markets picking up bread and jam, not normally bothered by where it comes from - on the basis that all of it’s bound to be better than Sainsbury’s, right? - and I don’t want to spend the time investigating.

I think this is an illustration of how goods become commoditised as economies grow richer. Personally, I treat the entire market as essentially one homogenous whole - I pick the bread stall with the shortest queue or cheapest prices, not that I’ve been to before. Sure, I’m being boring, but then I’m boring when it comes to selecting my brand of toothpaste too. I’m probably the exception at the minute, but if Winchester ran one of these each day, I wouldn’t be for long.

In any event, if you haven’t been to a Farmers’ market lately, give it a try.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with the UK Farmers’ Market Association.