Peak Farmer’s Market

As Adam Smith wrote, “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.” In other words, sooner or later everything gives way to the impulse to form cartels and restrain competition. Even something as warm and fuzzy as the farmer’s market:

Farmers in pockets of the country say the number of farmers’ markets has outstripped demand, a consequence of a clamor for markets that are closer to customers and communities that want multiple markets.

Some farmers say small new markets have lured away loyal customers and cut into profits. Other farmers say they must add markets to their weekly rotation to earn the same money they did a few years ago, reducing their time in the field and adding employee hours.

Has the supply outstripped demand, or are communities clamoring for more? Clearly, at some point earnings will drop to the point where it’s not worth farmers’ while to supply additional farmers’ markets. At that point, we’ll stop having more farmer’s markets. But until then, it seems to me that more competition and more supply of markets is a very good thing for America’s non-farmer majority.