Thursday, August 19, 2010

Farmers Market in N. Oakland offers free produce swap, workshops and affordable prices.

A new farmers market opened up this summer that is really challenging the current farmers market norms. Very affordable prices, free workshops, and a place to trade backyard produce. I think I'm in love!

Most farmers markets are expensive! When you think about it, you are buying directly from the farmer so there is no middle man. In theory, this should make it cheaper. You are also buying from someone local so the travel time and costs of the produce is minimal, therefore should be even cheaper. So, why is it that food at farmers markets is consistently and substantionaly more expensive than the grocery store? It might not be like that everywhere but it sure as heck is like that here in the SF Bay Area and I suspect most other places as well.

Phat Beets has made it their mission to change that.
(From the Phat Beets website:)

"About Phat Beets
Phat Beets Produce was started in North Oakland in 2007 as a guerilla produce stand in a North Oakland park. We now facilitate two certified, clinic based farmers’ markets, one youth led school farm stand and community nutrition hub, and a youth market garden in partnership with a local hospital obesity prevention program.

To provide equal, affordable access to organic fresh fruits and vegetables, grains and legumes to North Oakland families through wholesale pricing.

Supported by community events, Phat Beets facilitates youth in leadership roles engaging their peers in healthy eating and nutrition discussions through hands on cooking demonstrations and garden based education.

Phat Beets works to connect small farmers to urban communities via the creation of farm stands and farmers markets in local establishments."

This farmers market offers pesticide free produce for great prices. One vendor I particularly like currently offers a variety of stone fruit and grapes all mix-n-match for $1.50 a lb. Their produce is grown organically with no pesticides but they haven't gone through the expensive process of getting their farm certified organic.
You will also find various free workshops where you can learn how to do things like, fix a flat on your bicycle, or use herbs for healing.

My favorite part of the farmers market is the table dedicated to a free community back yard produce swap. If you have a fruit tree or backyard garden, you can bring all your excesses and trade them out for a variety of other backyard produce grown right here in your own neighborhood. How revolutionary for a farmers market to offer this free, simple and extremely helpful service.

Phat Beets Farmers Market
every Saturday

57th & Market in N. Oakland.
in the parking lot behind the Arlington Medical Center


  1. I bet the man-hours are more, even though its closer and all that. More work for less sales then in a bulk operation.

    Then there is the subversive reason; people are willing to pay more for the experience of doing a good turn to the life-world and all the rest of the good vibes they get for being sustainable ,ecofriendly, eating organic etc..

    Interesting program.

  2. Thanks for the tip. Farmers Markets are expensive. I mostly go for the atmosphere. Berkeley Bowl for shopping.