Bye Bye Bobolink

I am so sorry to hear that Boboink Dairy will no longer participate in the Thursday Princeton Farmers Market.  Last Wednesday’s weekly e-newsletter from Bobolink stated:

“Sad news about the Princeton Farmer’s Market

We regret to announce that we have withdrawn from the Princeton Farmer’s Market, due to irreconcilable differences with the market’s sponsors.

Most farmer’s markets are sponsored by a not-for-profit, a chamber of commerce, merchant’s association, or other community group. They do it to improve their community by adding an amenity, which benefits the consumers, farmers, and the general economic health of the community by bringing new faces into town.

The Princeton market is different, though–it is sponsored by two local food retailers, who feel that their sponsorship entitles them to control over what each vendor sells at the market. If this were a private market on private property, then perhaps they would would have that right. But this indeed a public market, being held on public land, with the cooperation of both the public library and the municipality.

The market manager has done a really fine job of assembling some of the best farmers and food artisans in the region. She has also tried to mediate this disagreement, to no avail. We hope that you will continue to shop at the market and support the great farmers who vend there.

We also hope that the fine people of Princeton eventually get the fair and open farmer’s market that they deserve, free of even the appearance of self-dealing.”

This is a shame, and while Bobolink generously praises the market manager and participants, and encourages us to continue to patronize the market, this leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  Food lovers well know that the quality of what Bobolink produces, mainly cheese and bread, is extraordinary. It is discouraging that the Princeton market sponsors would let that slip between their fingers.

Make no mistake – the Princeton market sponsors have been very good community citizens.  But I wish they could find their way to seeing that what improves or benefits the market, benefits all the participants and the community, because it builds traffic for the market and downtown, keeping them vibrant.  I know that many markets have had their dramas, with jealous vendors and management sniping at each other and playing political games.  But there had been remarkably little of that in our area until now.

That said, aside from visiting Bobolink in Milford (see website for info) or mail ordering, their market schedule includes just two in New Jersey now:

Stockton Indoor Farmer’s Market 19 Bridge Street, Stockton, NJ 08559 Saturdays, 9-4.

Flemington Farmer’s Market @ Dvoor Farm, Route 12 and Mine Street Sundays 9-1.

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