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Fruit stands crush farmers markets on price

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High Five
Thursday, September 23, 2010

Portland consumers are increasingly turning to fruit stands as a cheaper alternative to farmers markets.

Uncle Paul's Produce Market, Portland Fruit and Produce and Kruger's farm stand are three local produce stores in Portland that offer the same food as farmer markets at significantly lower prices.

In a survey of basic produce conducted by the Tribune in recent weeks, prices at the three local produce stores were about half those at farmers markets, and lower than the prices at Fred Meyer stores. The reasons for the disparity have to do with what many consider upside-down market forces that are anything but free market economics.

Part of the explanation can be found in the barrels of Gala apples at Portland Fruit and Produce. There are blemishes and bruises on most of those apples. They’re locally grown, says Jack Bischoff, the store’s owner. They taste great, Bischoff insists. But you couldn’t sell them at a farmers market stand looking like that.

Bischoff is selling those apples for 89 cents a pound, and he’s got a bin of local peaches nearby going for 59 cents a pound. The lowest priced peaches at the downtown Portland Farmers market are $2.50 a pound. Gala apples are priced at $2 a pound.

Read more at the Portland Tribune.

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Sattie Clark
0 #1 Might be cheaper but is it toxic?Sattie Clark 2010-09-23 16:08:40
Most of the produce at farmers markets is certified organic or produced under the same guidelines. Produce at roadside markets might be local but it's probably not organic. I'll pay a little more to know I'm not feeding my family chemical pesticides, herbacides and fertilizers.

Americans have become so accustomed to cheap food that we don't really understand the value of what we're buying. Americans used to spend 25% of their income on food. Now it's more like 15% or less. What has changed with the price however is the quality of the food and its impact on the environment.
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