Monday, March 4, 2013


Without any indication that this might be coming and for reasons unbeknownst to me, apparently the South Durham Market has selected a new vendor with a more locally sourced product to replace Berenbaum's for the coming season. I can't tell you how disappointed I am in their decision and how surprised I was to receive this generic form letter (below) disinviting me from the market.

I can't say that I've ever heard of a vendor being voted out of a Farmer's Market.  I had not received any negative criticism from anyone at market, and my understanding was that the re-application process to the market was more or less a formality.

When I had to tell our customers Saturday that this was our last day at market, they were incredulous that the Board would do such a thing to an existing vendor.  Why would the Board have let us in for nine months only to kick us out? As with the Durham Central Market, I'm also disappointed in the lack of feedback regarding the admissions process and criteria.

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Dear Berenbaum's,

Thank you for your interest in the South Durham Farmers’ Market. This year we were very excited to have such a large, respected pool of farmers and vendors to draw from. Unfortunately, your business was not selected for the 2013 – 2014 market season.

Our organizational mission requires that the market reevaluate our market space and product diversity each year, so that we can provide as many opportunities for new and undermarketed farmers to sell their products as possible. As such, we encourage you to continue to consider the South DurhamFarmers’ Market next year as well, as a space for you product offerings may become available at that time.

We strongly encourage you to apply next year with a more locally-focused product offering.

Those applicants who provided a self-addressed stamped envelope will have their membership fee checks returned; all other checks will be destroyed. Those who submitted their membership fees via PayPal will have their fees refunded via PayPal within the next 10 days.

Again, thank you for applying to the South Durham Farmer’s Market.


The South Durham Farmers’ Market Board

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Our mock going out of business sign for the South Durham Market - 3/2/2013
This past Saturday was our sadly our last day

We are looking forward to collaborating in the future with Sarah Haggerty from Elementals, Stanley Hughes from Pine Knot Farms, and Ryan Butler from Green Button Farms.

I would like to give an extra shout-out to Stu Z. (aka SZ) who has been selling for us at South Durham almost every week since it opened.  Because Stu lives only 5 minutes away from that market, this feels like an especially heavy loss/insult for him.  Stu, we appreciate all your hard work and dedication to the market.  Stu will no doubt continue to work with the Berenbaum's team both in the kitchen and at the Hunt Street Market.

So in conclusion, thanks to all our customers who came out and supported us at the South Durham Market.  I am sorry we will no longer be able to supply you with vegan hand pies and other fine baked goods.  If you would like to register a complaint with the Market as to our dismissal, I would recommend emailing Ben Filippo at and cc'ing Board Chair and organizing member Kat Spann (Prodigal Farm) at

Or tweet at the South Durham Market here:

Or email the full board using the pre-made email below:

Dear Board Members,

I would like to express my disappointment in your non-renewal of Berenbaum's Bakery at the South Durham Market for the 2013 season. Handmade high quality baked goods are a rare treat, and Berenbaum's vegan hand pies and other baked products are all top-notch.  I would be more likely to patronize your market in the future if I knew his bakestand would be reinstated there for the coming season.



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1 comment:

  1. Excellent response to the board. I encourage all fans of Berenbaums to write and convey their displeasure with the decision. Their loss entirely!