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The Dallas Morning News has a nice piece about the Dallas Farmers Market, suggesting that its current direction reflects a larger truth about the food business.

“The Dallas Farmers Market is caught up in a trend in which chef and consumer demand for locally produced fruits, vegetables, meats and artisan foods is converging with an increase in people who are eager to provide them,” the News writes. “The convergence feeds off environmental interests that include organic foods, sustainability, animal welfare and reducing carbon imprints, as well as a desire to know about a food's origin. You see it not only at the Dallas Farmers Market, but also in the growth of regional markets and the popularity of stores such as Central Market, Whole Foods Market and Sprouts Farmers Market.

“Chefs have always been concerned about flavor. And nothing beats farm-fresh foods – from a juicy Texas peach or tomato to chicken that's been pasture-raised or a delicate, handmade cheese from a farm 20 miles away. Big changes to make the Dallas market more foodie-friendly are yet to come. But small ones, such as the effort to attract more farmers as sellers, already are making a difference.”

KC's View:
Small changes almost always precede big changes...and one of the things that has to happen in the food industry is the education of customers that can make big changes possible.

I was talking to a friend the other day who is a regular shopper of farmers’ markets, and he was telling me about how he was talking to an acquaintance about her first experience shopping at one. She was complaining about the lack of variety, saying that they only seemed to have certain products…and was chagrined when he explained to her that the whole nature of shopping and eating local products means paying attention to seasonality.

That’s the crux of the dilemma facing stores looking to focus on local foods. Shoppers may walk through the door with certain expectations…and retailers may have to educate, illuminate, and even, occasionally dissuade them.