Yesterday I found out just how much Oxford, Ohio values is farmers markets-Very little.
Tuesday has been farmers market day in Uptown Oxford for the past 12 years-That's right, 12 years. We set up this market on the north side of the Memorial Park and have so for as long as he park has been in existance. We have filled out and filed with the city the proper permits to do this market legally.
And yet yesterday afternoon when we showed up in Oxford a 4:10 pm (we were a bit late as we were planting some sweet potato slips we had grown) the park was being used for a 3rd of July festival (why this was not done on the 4th is beyond me) put on by the Parks and Recreation folks. And the market was banned from setting up in he park. his would not have been so bad if someone from the Parks and Recreation dept had contacted either me or Debra Bowles about our site being used for the day. If they had we would have either cancelled or better yet, asked if we could be a part of the festivities-afterall what is more American than a farmers market? And I do not know why this did not happen as there has been a partnership formed between the P&R dept and OFMU, the Tuesday market's governing body. So in theory, if the P&R was really taking the farmers markets in Oxford seriously, we should have been involved in his event. Bu obviously the Oxford P&R (and I believe the City as well) are not taking the farmers markets in Oxford seriously and that is a shame as they are totally missing the point that farmers markets are always an asset.
Okay, so we get here, Debra sees us and tells us that we are to set up in the back of the public parking lot where we have our Saturday market. Don Schwab is already set up there. He tells us a tale of getting rudely kicked out of the park by the P&R people (who should be welcoming us, especially since they are stepping on our toes by usurping our rightful territory). I later find out that the City had made no contingency plan for the Tuesday market and wanted to just cancel us.
Fortunately Oxford has Diana Durr who runs the Visitors and Convention Bureau and is a champion of Farmers markets. She told the city they had to allow us to set up in he public lot since we had permits and OFMU does pay to use the lot. So she got them to okay the parking lot at the last minute and we were allowed to set up our market. She is also the only person to apologise for the mix up (which was not her fault). It would be nice to also get an apology from the P&R people where were less than pleasant to the Tuesday market and who also did not tell us that there would be a conflict. Wotta bunch of Maroons (as Bugs Bunny would say)
So here we are set up away from he festivities, barely allowed to set up our farmers market signs so that our public could find up now that we are a 1/2 block away from our normal haunts (and studies show moving a market just 100' will mean a major decrease in sales). The market was set up 45 minutes behind schedule and sales were slow-the slowest in 4 or 5 years. A few of our customers did indeed find us bu mos did not and so we pretty much wasted our time sitting out behind a big festival that we should have been included in had anyone associated with this event had a functioning brain.
Call me very pissed off about this whole thing