Farmers Market open today, tomorrow in Chapel Hill

Friday, July 24, 2009

CHAPEL HILL - With 19,000 extra people in town this weekend, venders at the farmers market here may have customers, but with only a couple of vendors at the town park during recent sale days, tractor pullers might just go to the grocery or a restaurant for sweet corn.

Sweet corn was being sold at the park late last week when Sharon Copeland and her niece, Taylor Copeland, were offering what they'd just harvested. Within an hour, four customers came by for the ears available for $3 a dozen. The Chapel Hill Farmers Market is scheduled for the mornings of Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

"It's really just been me and another guy," Sharon Copeland said while waiting for customers at the tailgate of her pickup truck.

"The first week, there were four vendors here," she continued.

Enos H. Davis Jr. was one of Copeland's customers and he said he prefers corn from a farmer's market.

"I will not go to a store and buy corn," Davis said.

The Charter Avenue resident's destination that afternoon may explain why.

"I'm going to pick corn this evening," he said, explaining that his son in Shelbyville planned to take him to a field where they'd be allowed to pick corn. "It's not an 'open field,'" Davis said.

Meanwhile, he and Copeland spoke of how some farmers markets are run.

She has encountered rules requiring that at least 80 percent of the produce offered must be grown by the vendor.

She was unsure how that's enforced.

"The reason that is," Copeland said of the rule, "is that a lot of people go to Lawrenceburg and buy from the Mennonites and sell it saying they grew it."

That's why Davis says the farmers market in Nashville isn't really a farmers market anymore. He calls it a middleman's market.