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New rule upsets some shoppers at State Farmers Market

Posted May 30, 2009
Updated May 31, 2009

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— Some customers at the State Farmers Market were upset Saturday when they found out about a new rule banning splitting wholesale boxes on market premises.

The rule bans customers from splitting wholesale boxes of products, such as fruit, while they are on the premises where the weekly market is held, said Ronnie Best, manager of the State Farmers Market.

State Farmers Market on the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh New rule enacted at State Farmers Market

Shoppers said they are used to being able to buy wholesale boxes together and then split the produce among themselves.

"Each person will get a small share and pay a little more," wholesale shopper Jai Wei said.

"This sharing has been a great way for everyone to benefit and continue to lead an affordable life, while still eating healthy," said Yari Johnson, a father of two and North Carolina State University graduate student. "I am at a loss for the following week. I do not have money to buy unfresh fruit from a grocery store, and I am unsure what I will do."

Market officials said the practice started about seven years and spread by word of mouth. It became popular and drew a diverse crowd.

"It's exciting," shopper Sandra Lair, a retired state worker, said. "People are pushing and shoving you, and you have to bargain for this and bargain for that. It's just like a regular flea market."

"You can share with different people, different groups ... and get to know different people," Wei said.

But the excitement praised by shoppers is one reason the practice had to be curtailed, Best said. The large crowds in Building Four had become a public-safety issue, he said.

"It's overwhelmed our staff. It's overwhelmed our parking," Best said. "It's just a huge crowd of people. ... We're just trying to get control of it."

Some shoppers said that it appeared they weren't allowed to split boxes at all anymore and felt harassed by state police handing out fliers and enforcing the new rule Saturday. Best said that the police were on hand for crowd control and are always on duty at the market.

The rule, he said, isn't aimed at individual customers who want to split boxes among themselves.

Instead, the problem was caused by people who bought the boxes in bulk and then re-sold the produce on the premises, he said. That practice harms legitimate sellers at the market, and market officials couldn't tell the difference between the groups.

"There were people bringing in product in this building to re-sell. They could've brought anything in here," Best said.

Customers can split boxes off the property, he said. Those seen re-selling or splitting boxes on the property will be asked to leave.

Wei said it was easier for customers to split up boxes at the market.


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  • Roxyyy Jun 9, 2009


    ummm that's the whole point!! not going to the grocery store, or Sams' Club, or BJs Wholesale Club, but apparently YOU think the Farmer's Market is a grocery store for some odd reason...

  • Roxyyy Jun 9, 2009

    for safety? ...that's interesting because that must mean that baseball games or anything else that has a big crowd is so not safe. Not to mention the police officer that is there for safety!! You would think there are too many people when the parkinglot has become overwhelmed and there is no room to park...last time I checked there was enough room. People buy, share, and leave its not like they stay there adding to the crowd. Some people stay but not everyone that goes decides to stay the entire time its open. Let's also not forget to quote here, "They could be bringing in anything" what is he talking aboutt?? seriously...

  • cloudyskyhere Jun 3, 2009


    Though the example sounds fair with a superficial glance, it's totally misleading.

    Farmer's market is simply a place for people to trade, sell. It's a unit of many individuals. You cannot say Farmer's market works like BJ's. I definitely respect BJ's the right to let customers who're splitting the box to leave. I just don't think a retailer in farmer's market can ask the same because his business is hurt.

    My parents truly enjoyed their Saturday visit to Farmer's market during their stay. That's a bright moment for their otherwise very boring stay here.

    This is an incredibly short-sighted decision in spite of the protest from wholesaler and "The hugh crowd", in the name of protecting retailers.

    Now I have to go back my dull life in RTP.

  • beachman00 Jun 2, 2009

    My wife enjoys the atmosphere. It is very much like the street markets from her home country. We are able to buy food at a very reasonable price and she gets a taste of home every week. She gets to see friends who are there shopping at the same time. I hope that a reasonable compromise will be worked out to allow continuing the practice of sharing boxes.

  • redapace Jun 1, 2009

    Next time you go to the grocery store, or Sams' Club, or BJs Wholesale Club, buy a big package of something, open it up and start selling the individual units in the store or in the parking lot. See how long before the cops arrive to explain to you why you gotta go.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Jun 1, 2009

    Another scheme to increase sales. Prevent people from splitting containers forcing them to buy the entire container.

  • ForHim Jun 1, 2009

    Not sure how this will solve the issue of not reselling. They can go off the property, split the box and come right back to re-sell. Typical state government-they continue to do what they can to hurt those trying to get by. Go figure.