This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

So that's what brussels sprouts look like

I went the farmer's market on Saturday thinking it was the last of the season (it is NOT), and Gilmore's had stalks of Brussels sprouts. Mrs. Gilmore mentioned that when she was selling on Friday, numerous people had noticed them and said, "Is that how Brussels sprouts grow?" We purchased a stalk, and as I was leaving, two people, one a vendor, commented that they had not known how Brussels sprouts grow. I decided that I needed to return and take a picture.
The sprouts grow from the where the leaves join the stalk--each sprout indicates the past location of a leaf. In the field there would be more leaves on the top. The bottom leaves probably had already fallen off exposing the sprouts. Normally the sprouts are picked and taken to the market, but the Gilmores were in a hurry because of the impending frost (which never got to us in our neighborhood), so they cut the whole stalk and let the buyer pick the sprouts from the stalk.

I had thought that this was the last weekend for the market because that is what the Rensselaer Republican said. It was the last weekend for Gilmores, but every other vendor I talked to said they would be back next week. I even talked to the market master, the lady who is in charge of the market, handing out contracts and collecting fees. For a fee of $20 you can sell all year at the market. If you only want to sell on one weekend, the fee is $5. There are also a list of rules, most of them because of state law. She showed me ten or twenty pages of state regulations. One thing she said was in there was a prohibition on selling home made jams and jellies or any other preserves. There are also regulations for selling baked goods. She said that she had to shut down a vendor at one of the Tuesday night farmer markets because the lady was selling jams.

Two things I did not see at the market that I thought would be there were beets and carrots. Both are tolerant of frost, and I have both growing in my home garden. I probably should have asked why they were not on the menu.

The trees on the court house lawn were starting to turn an Saturday. We should be getting a lot of yellow and orange in the next month. Enjoy the colors of autumn as you prepare for the coldness of winter.
An interesting tidbit from the vendor's contract:
"Many small growers put in long hours and work extremely hard just to scrape by and it is grossly unfair for hobbyists or vendors who don't care what they get for their goods to undercut their market neighbors and create further hardship for them.

"The Membership voted to create a Price Board for 2009. The Market Master will list the going retail rate for produce on the price board. Vendors must check the board and stay within 25 cents of the listed prices for common items [produce--only] before marking your goods. Note the change: 25 cents now instead of 50 cents. This was the majority vote. Example: If Sweet Corn is selling for $3.00 per dozen--vendors may sell from $2.75 - $3.25. If Spinach is $3.99 bag - $3.75-$4.25 should be the range."
Is colluding on prices like this legal, or does it violate anti-trust laws?

1 comment:

Cynical Girl said...

wow...that is a big sprout. what do you use it for? salad?