|James "Kimo" Rosen is a retired professional photographer|
and amongst other things lived in a tent outdoors for 7 years.
Rosen currently resides on the tropical island of Kaua'i
with his best friend and spiritual adviser Obama Da Dog!
Farmers markets and the art of the dicker
Dateline, 10 -15 years ago I used to really love going to the local farmers market. It was a way to save money, and get some healthy produce and support the local farmers.
Fast forward to now;
It's somewhat ironic that I can go to the local discounted warehouse supermarket in Kapaa and buy produce for less than at the farmers market. What really bothers me is that there is no middle man at the farmers market and they are asking in many instances 2-3 times more than the supermarket.
I can by ginger root for $1.67 lb at the local warehouse supermarket and get a big bag of ginger for under $2.00, in contrast at the farmers that same amount of ginger would cost right around $4.50. Yikes!
You will see 7-10 vendors selling the exact same ginger. How can that be? I inquired because allegedly you are not allowed to use the farmers market as a buy wholesale and resell at retail. Here's the loophole. Farmers are now called vendors. Vendors can buy from other vendors as long as it is not during the operating hours of the farmers market.This is why you have numerous vendors (farmers) selling the same produce. When I ask them if they grew it, they all say, "yes!" Really? Does it look like I was born yesterday? That is how you have so many vendors selling the same tomatoes, ginger, papaya's etc. Now you know the rest of the story, but wait, there's more.
My favorite Auntie at the farmers market who for years made the most artistic, beautiful, inexpensive and exotic flower lei's your eyes ever saw was told to cease making the lei's since you are not allowed to sell handcrafted items without special insurance that is not required to sell produce. Therefore my favorite Auntie after years of selling lei's is no longer selling lei's because of some new idiotic bureaucratic rule, (her choice though, to not get insurance) but 12 vendors can sell overpriced ginger that I can buy cheaper at the supermarket. OY!
I talked with the supervisor of the farmers market and asked, what's happening here? I thought the farmers market was suppose to have deals better than the supermarket? The reason I come is for the deals, otherwise why bother? He says he can't control what they charge. I saw one vendor charging $1.50 each for miniature bell peppers that I believe should had sold for 4 for $1.00!
The farmers (vendors) are going home with extra ripe papayas, bananas and all kinds of produce that in many instances are being thrown into their compost piles. Hasn't it occurred to them the old concept of something is better than nothing? Instead of throwing out over ripe produce, offer a discount to those who ask, (let us dicker) and don't give us da stink eye! Why not clear their tables, make people happy, make yourself happy, is better than making nothing. Right?
The farmers market used to be a place you could go and dicker on prices, that made it fun. There are a few vendors that still know the art of the dicker but are few and far between. The young vendors, a few old timers too, just look at you with deer in the head lights when trying to dicker for a better price. The art of the dicker is what made farmer markets and flea markets what they were. Without being able to dicker, they are mere markets.
If your going for the purpose to save money, stay away. If your going for fresh produce, an afternoon of fun in the sun, fellowship and a cultural joy ride, enjoy! Just don't tell them Kimo sent you. They just may charge you double. If they do, just remember to dicker and dicker hard.
Hana Hou-iPhone photography;
From Kaua'i Mayorathon 2016
All photos by James "Kimo" Rosen-
Copyright-All rights reserved-2016
|Norvin Balisacan loves pedaling to make a healthy smoothie. |
The bicycle smoothie was sponsored by Wilcox health
at the recent Mayorathon at Kapaa beach park.