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'Local' Produce From Across The Border

07/14/2012 02:18 EDT | Updated 09/13/2012 05:12 EDT
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Local farmers say wholesalers are selling products at farmers' markets that appear to be local, but are actually acquired from elsewhere.

Eating local is a trend that has been sweeping communities and leading many to farmers' markets to enjoy locally-grown produce.

But in recent years, many wholesalers have been taking advantage of the trend by tricking people into buying products from other parts of Canada.

It can be seen in virtually any market; whether it be tomatoes from Ontario sold under signs adorned with Quebec's iconic fleur-de-lis or potatoes from Prince Edward Island.

"Often, there are vegetables that are not from Quebec but the vendors make it look like a local product. People buy the produce thinking it is local, that's what's disappointing," said Jacques Rémillard, a local farmer with a stand at the Jean-Talon market.

A few years ago, Quebec's public markets corporation put in place a precise product sticker system to help identify local ingredients.

Though there remain certain issues with the information divulged with stickering, many are taking the problem back to its basics: what is a farmers' market supposed to sell?

After 80 years, the Jean-Talon market is making more space for resellers.

"Before, it used to be farmers who use to sell their products. Today, it's different. They're resellers. It changes the ambiance, that's what clients are saying," said a vegetable producer.

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