Living in Collingswood feels a lot like living in all of my favorite 1950's and 60's sitcoms and movies, laugh track and idyllic lighting included! Seriously, We are thoroughly enamored with life in our little quaint, funky, and hip small town. The Collingswood Farmers' Market opened two weeks ago bringing a big abundance of produce, flowers, foods and a burst of spring to our village. This is the 11th year of "America's Favorite Market" and it does not disappoint. The farmers and vendors are very local, ranging within less than 100 miles; most vendors are within the immediate area, no more than a few dozen miles away. This minimizes the carbon footprint factor and ups the ante on buying truly local homegrown goodness.
I've been to many markets in cities and towns wherever I travel. We've been CSA Members of several farm shares and we frequent the many farmers markets in Philadelphia, from Rittenhouse Square, Headhouse Square to The Passyunk Avenue Farmers' Market at the Fountain. Outside of the marketplace we visited in Sante Fe, New Mexico, Collingswood's market is THE BEST I've ever encountered Astonishingly, the market's only been open for two weeks! I can't imagine how much more great stuff I'm going to be able to buy in the weeks to come.
In critical comments I've made in the past about the markets in Philly, I've often felt that the biggest frustrating issues about them are that the prices are so high and prohibitive to everyone except those with more disposable discretionary incomes. The market at Head House Square is stuffed into tight quarters and the people who shop there are just plain rude. Stopping in mid-stall to chat with friends in total disregard to everyone around them. Families with strollers and dogs who are oblivious to the personal space they take up (and being a parent, I'm so overly aware of this issue that I go out of my way to be polite); those without kids that have no regard for those of us trying vainly to maneuver with our bags and strollers so we can stay out of everyone elses' way. My list of pet peeves goes on but you can see where I'm heading. Location and spacial placement are key elements in what makes a good marketplace. Reasonable prices, no price gouging or robbing us liberal do-gooders so we can buy our truly cage-free, organic eggs for the 5 bucks the farmers are
Is it too much to ask for fair prices, variety and a little space to move freely? Perhaps it is in the city, but here in Pleasantville, we've got all the choices you could want and the land to roam and push one's granny cart or stroller wherever you want!