October 25, 2012Sometimes it is better not to be right, but it turns out we were right about the old Greensboro Farmers' Curb Market on Yanceyville Street.
We had said that if the control of the farmers' market was given to the group that was once called Friends of the Market and is now Greensboro Farmers Market Inc. (GFM), that long-time farmers at the market who had tried to go a different route would be thrown out.
Tuesday, Oct. 23, Greensboro city councilmembers received an email from Deputy City Manager Jim Westmoreland informing them that Gann Farms had received a letter from Greensboro Farmers Market Inc. "notifying them that their market privileges would be suspended November 1st, if they do not allow GFM to conduct a site visit by October 31."
Rodney Gann of Gann Farms confirmed that he had received a letter this week informing him that Gann Farms could not sell anything at the Greensboro Farmers Market after Nov. 1 because the Ganns would not schedule a visit for GFM to visit
their facility where they make Ms. Mary's Chow Chow.
It's really interesting that Ms. Mary's Chow Chow is what has raised the ire of GFM because the chow chow – which has been sold at the farmers' market for years, along with cakes and pies cooked by Rodney Gann's mother, Mary Gann – is now being sold at Fresh Markets all across the country.
It is a success story that you would think the GFM would celebrate, if they were interested in the success of their vendors. From a few jars a week Mary Gann has increased production considerably, but if Ms. Mary's Chow Chow operation is good enough to be approved by the Guilford County Department of Public Health and the state, you would think it would meet the standards of the GFM where it has been sold for years. But although it is good enough to sell at Fresh Markets from coast to coast, it does not meet the far more rigorous standards of GFM.
The Ganns were the ring leaders in attempting to put together a coalition of farmers at the Greensboro Farmers' Curb Market to take over operation, and later backed the idea of the city continuing to run the market but moving it from management by the Parks and Recreation Department to management by the Coliseum.
Rodney Gann said they are not going to fight their expulsion, and after 25 years at the market they will be giving up their tables.
It is unfortunate but it appears GFM is retaliating against farmers who did not support its takeover of the market. Mike Faucette of Faucette Farms has been visited by the employees of GFM so many times this year that he has hired an attorney who sent a letter to GFM about the visits.
It looked like GFM was going to just try to keep the market like it has been for years, but with the expulsion of the Ganns and the continued visits to Faucette's Farm it seems the group is going to retaliate against those who opposed them.