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Fates of county farmers markets determined by quality, pricing [Letter]

8:29 PM EST, November 7, 2013

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The Oct. 31 article, "Columbia, Glenwood farmers markets could close," failed to account for the 300-pound gorilla in the room — namely, price gouging by some greedy vendors hoping to cash in on the popularity of buying local. I patronize the orchard truck at the East Columbia Library location, where there is always a steady stream of customers. Why? Because they sell quality fruit at fair, reasonable prices. As part of their decision-making process on whether to close any markets, I suggest that members of the Howard County Farmers Market Board and Howard County Economic Development Authority personally visit the stalls of the underperforming vendors and observe their prices. It does not surprise me that potential vendors are lining up to enter the local markets — they have simply observed that any vendor who offers quality at a fair price has no problems attracting customers.

Mel Marcus

Columbia