Tag: farmers market

The Nonsense Continues

I had the weekend edition of the NZ Herald sitting around on the dining room table all weekend, pondering whether I should add my 5 pence worth to the article entitled Fruit, vege bargains at supermarket in theweekend edition. Then I sat down to watch the 6 o’clock news tonight.  First up –the milk price again. The Minister of Agriculture, David Carter,  now suggests that a Parliamentary Select Committee should investigate milk prices.  The CEO of the Consumers Institute made ridiculous comments on camera about a “secret manual” she alleged Fonterra uses to set milk prices and a TV One reporter found that supermarkets sell 2 litres of milk for $3.60 compared to $5.20 at a dairy and $5.60 at a service station. Doh.  Oh really?  Ah, there is a story that has gone off the rails.  That does not fit the intended direction –because we all know its supermarkets which engage in price gauging right?  Carter, luckily for him, was interviewed on Q & A this morning, rather than in the evening.  His “I never buy my milk at the supermarket and I would encourage consumers to shop around” wisdom therefore went unchallenged.  Let’s get some of the facts straight.  Supermarkets are in the volume business which works really well for them with processed food; milk for example.  Milk will always be cheaper in a supermarket  than in a dairy or service station, so please stop wasting time during the news bulletin and instead report the real issues we want to hear about.  When have you last seen a super market chain advertising  milk or bread at special prices or even as a loss leader?  The answer is “you have not” as it simply does not happen. The same goes for eggs by the way. They could, but they typically do not!  Accusing supermarkets on price gauging on those products is therefore an exercise akinto shooting oneself into one’s foot!  Back to the Herald’s fruit & veg story.  At a time of extreme shortages, you can rely on supermarkets to exert pressure to keep the prices down. Not because they want to be good citizens but out of self interest.  They have worked out a few years back that consumers have a pain threshold. When cauliflower prices go beyond $3.99 per head retail, consumers pull the hand break.  Tomatoes at $20 is pipe dream territory of unheard proportions.  Food & Grocery Council CEO Katherine Rich also has a thing or three to learn about the fresh produce value chain, judging by her comments in the NZ Herald story.  Of course, the produce will be fresher at a farmers market – if it has been locally grown and is being sold by the grower himself.  And of course, supermarkets are subject to greater controls and attempt to offer produce of greater uniformity.  And where do we think the produce supermarkets does not buy disappears to, hm? Whilst it is great that we as a society are focusing back on the basics, i.e., the quality and availability of our food and its price, there is a lot of nonsense being talked out there and the sooner that changes the better.

At the Markets Part Two: The Regional Focus

I’m still enjoying Nuremberg’s market…and the more I think about it, the more I think that such markets are using their ability to focus on seasonal and local produce as their main marketing tool, their real point of difference – which is why the sushi in the previous post really stuck in my mind.

This market has survived very nicely by serving the Nuremberg inner city dwellers with very local and seasonal produce, as illustrated below:

Fresh Franconian asparagus.  Not German asparagus, or even Bavarian asparagus – but asparagus grown in the region of Franconia in the state of Bavaria.  Nuremberg happens to be the largest city in Franconia with a population of just over 500,000 in the city itself – including the suburbs that figure rises to 1.2million. 

In contrast, the local discounters like Aldi and Lidl stock asparagus from 4-5 different regions all year round.

Which one do you find more appealing?

At the Markets part one – The Imposter

My recent European sojourn found me in Nuremberg – a city that is both famous and infamous.  On the famous side, it is known for its contribution to the arts and Christmas; while for the infamous there’s the trials.

Nuremberg is an old city.  Like many medieval cities, there is a market square in front of the church – and this one is still in use regularly for a busy local farmers’ market.


It is very picturesque, with all the stalls resplendent in their candy striped awnings, and probably very much like it has been for centuries.

However, lurking in amongst the stalls trying to look inconspicuous, I came across this:



I’m not sure how farmer or local this is, but it does show how far some iconic foods have been able to travel from their homeland and become globally normal.