I'm not sure if it's simply carelessness or rapidly approaching senility, but over the last twelve months my supply of canvas Farmer’s Market totes has dwindled by two-thirds. Last August I managed to drop my bright yellow Ayer's Creek Farm tote during a visit to the Sunday Farmer’s Market on Seattle’s Capitol Hill, and about six weeks ago, I noticed that my Portland Farmer’s Market (PFM) canvas tote was missing...oh, bother. On my last trip to Portland as I waited for the bell to ring to open the market, I decided it was time to replace the latter. They had replaced their previous tote with a version that folded up into a neat bundle when not in use. I was ready to plunk down my $$$, when I read the inner tag: "Made In China." I passed on the tote.
Upon reflection, I find it very, very odd, downright offensive actually, that the PFM would source its promotional merchandise from thousands of miles away, especially given their "Mission" statement (as stated on the PFM "About Us" page):
PFM operates vibrant farmers markets that contribute to the success of local food growers and producers, strengthen our food economy and serve as community gathering places.
What’s wrong with this picture!!! Could it be that there is something fundamentally at odds between the high-minded façade and the economic realities of the current incantation of many of the Farmers Market organizations in this country…a few words to follow on Seattle’s Farmers Market turf wars.