As inflation continues to weigh on grocery prices, folks at the Halloween-themed Mountjoy Farmer’s Market in Timmins this Saturday may have noticed it’s also putting pressure on farmers local.The children arrived in costumes for the Halloween-themed Mountjoy Farmers Market on October 1 and 22. (Provided)Marketplace sellers told CTV News that while they were trying to keep products in the same general price range as in previous years, increased back-end spending made it difficult.
“For example, my organic turkey feed last year was $900 a ton and this year it’s $2,000 a ton,” said Marcel Forget, owner of Rubber Boots Farm.
“On top of that there’s my fuel to go back and forth to slaughterhouses, so there’s definitely a reflection of the price increase.”
Forget said the smaller farms in that region don’t have the capacity to absorb those extra costs, compared to the larger producers who supply franchise grocery stores.
Additionally, Sarah Graham, of the Graham Acres family farm, said working in the North already entails additional expense, in that she is dependent on services in southern Ontario to bring produce to market.
And so rising supply chain costs need to be passed on to customers of certain products, she said.
“(For) our sausages and pepperettes, we had to raise our prices, simply because the cost of producing them went up,” Graham said.
“Other than that, we pretty much stuck to the same ballpark prices, in terms of our vegetables and everything.”
The owner of the Sunrise Orchards and Produce grocer in Smooth Rock Falls, Marion Veens, said southern farmers are willing to adjust the price of produce that would otherwise be hard to find in a northern market, so people in the region can have access to food. it is more difficult to grow up in the north.
Veens said it was the result of long-standing relationships in the agricultural industry, recognition of the higher cost of living in this region and a desire to ensure people could have quality food. quality.
“We’re all in this together,” Veens said.
“We just want to bring people to our local farmers markets, straight to the farms, to support local farmers. That’s the way it should be.”
At this point, Graham said, the difference between markets in northern Ontario and those in big cities in the south is that other farmers’ markets may seek to charge people a premium for a small-town experience. Whereas here, she explains, customers in the south have found that northern markets are not looking to inflate prices, but to provide locally grown food at an affordable price.
Graham adds that while some products may be more expensive than what people can find at a grocery store, the money is sure to stay in the community.
She said that could be part of the reason more people seem to have come to local markets this year.
“It makes sense that people come here because the prices are right, the product is good, and you know you’re supporting local people, within your community,” Graham said.