Customers OK with buying US fruit at farmers' market, says survey

Most customers at the downtown farmers' market are okay with buying the same fruit as sold at grocery stores, according a survey.

Most customers at the downtown farmers' market are okay with buying the same fruit as sold at grocery stores, according to a survey. 

The survey, conducted by the board, found more than half of customers don't mind buying foreign fruit at the market on 104th Street during the summer and in city hall during the off season.

"Some customers have said, 'I come to the market to buy stuff that I need,'" said Dan Young, with the market's vendor committee. "'I might pick up some vegetables and I want to pick my fruit up at the same time. I don't want to make two trips.'

"They're just as happy to get their fruit here as they are at Safeway, I suppose."

The board is trying to decide if it will ban U.S. fruit.

Some customers were shocked to find they were buying ordinary big box-store fruit, and possibly at a premium, when CBC News broke the story in June.

While some vendors sell local, or Canadian, produce, about half sell U.S. fruit purchased from wholesalers or big box stores.

Under Alberta’s rules, markets must have 80 per cent of their products made by the vendors, while the other 20 per cent can be bought elsewhere and resold, said Young.

The market board is looking at changing its policy, but hasn't set a deadline.

"The challenge we face is...that this is people's livelihood," said Young. "We are a non-profit organization. All of these people invest in their businesses whether they are resellers or (growers).

"The board has to weigh out the impact on those businesses."