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Guess Who’s Back at the Clarendon Farmers Market?

by ARLnow.com July 28, 2010 at 3:19 pm 2,017 9 Comments

After being barred from the Clarendon Farmers Market for two weeks, C&T Produce is back.

Owner Tracy DeBernard and daughter Holly were quietly manning their produce stand today, outside the Clarendon Metro Station.

DeBernard said she was allowed to return last week after Cooperative Extension agents from Stafford and Spotsylvania counties inspected her 400 acre farm and determined that she was growing all her own produce. Other vendors at the farmers market had alleged she was keeping prices artificially low by importing her produce from other farms.

The feud came to a head four weeks ago when DeBernard was told it would be her last time selling at the market. Later that day an ABC7 reporter showed up and reported live on the controversy.

“I’m very happy to be back,” DeBernard said today as a steady stream of customers inspected the fruits and vegetables under her red, white and blue tent. “It appears that the customers are very happy for me to be back, too.”

Not so happy, she says, are the other vendors who pressured the group that runs the market to kick her out.

“A lot of the other vendors don’t talk to me,” DeBernard said. “But that’s alright, I come here to sell my product, pack up and go home.”

  • diane

    Good! Now I will be back, too!!

  • Lou

    So the complaints against her were fabrications? That’s shameful, and those people should feel bad.

    • Adam

      Those people shouldn’t just feel bad. They should be prosecuted for violations of antitrust law.

  • ARLnow was instrumental in getting the pressure to boil (without taking sides). Good journalism.

  • Glad their back!

  • Clarendude

    Apparently, cheating in local producer-only markets is a widespread problem.

    http://farmersmarketcoalition.org/producer-only/
    http://www.seasonalchef.com/limbo.htm
    “cheating that is widely acknowledged by industry insiders to be disturbingly widespread in farmers markets ”

    C&T was vindicated here by statements from their own local extension agent as growing their produce on their Stafford farm and not on their Georgia and other farms they own, but the question remains as to how to verify that the produce you are buying is grown locally (which is the whole point of this market). What prevents someone that may have a local farm from buying tomatoes wholesale from a non-local source and selling them to people who think they are buying local and are willing to pay more to support local farmers ?

    I know some people don’t really care about the local aspect and just want convenient, high quality produce but many want to support keeping local land under cultivation both to preserve it from development and as a food security measure (local self-sufficiency).

  • Mr Potatohead

    who they should inspect next is toigo

  • BarbinArlington

    Such pitting of producers against producers seems to be a pasttime of Farmers Markets producers. There is a history of this same type of accusation with the Courthouse Farmers Market, too. I’m glad that in this instance it all worked out for the producer. The accusers should be sure that they know what they’re talking about before making a challenge.

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