Spurred by localvores, Colorado Fresh farmers markets to require labeling of out-of-state produce

As we wrote about in a recent Urbavore's Dilemma story ("Separating the natives from the non-natives at local farmer's markets"), it's often impossible to tell if that shiny tomato or succulent melon you're eying at the local farmers market comes from a Colorado farm or an operation in California or Mexico. That will be different next year at all the events run by Colorado Fresh Markets, the big farmers-market player in town that operates the popular Cherry Creek farmers market on Wednesdays and Saturdays as well as several other Denver farmers markets.

Colorado Fresh Markets President Christopher Burke broke the news last week after Sundari Kraft -- owner of a Denver-based multi-plot urban farm that sells local produce at several non-Fresh Markets events -- sent the operation an e-mail requesting they identify their produce's provenance and encouraged others to do likewise. Burke responded to Kraft that they will more closely monitor the labeling of produce at their events and, starting with next year's markets, will require all produce vendors to include origin labels.

"I'm glad to hear this, because I believe that consumers (especially those that take the time to shop at a farmers' market) deserve to know where their food is grown," wrote Kraft about the development on her blog. "However, in order for this to be effective, we (as customers) need to help by looking for signs and pointing out when they're absent."

Nit-picky? Not if you're a local farmer struggling to compete -- or if you're a fan of the taste of something grown right down the road.

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