Death of the farmer’s market

As you may have noticed, farmer’s markets are springing up all over. The combination of organic and local is proving irresistible to many towns and consumers.

The market in my town is now twice as big as it was just last year. New vendors sell muffins, cookies, muffins, cheese, muffins, and yes, frozen risotto cakes in their own disposable plastic tray. Somewhere along the way, the farmer part got left behind.

This brings out tons of people, consumers who would rather buy a sandwich than a zucchini. It’s the normal progression of things–from the edgy early adopter who seeks purity and novelty above all things, all the way through the early majority and then the mass market. As the market grows, it gets, by definition, more average. Until, as Yogi Berra says, "no one goes there, it’s too crowded."

This creates opportunities and challenges. Last one in with a mass market offering can do very well after the market is pioneered by the iconoclasts. And the iconoclasts have to be very careful of depending on the market they created staying just the way it was, but bigger.