Market dismisses ‘toxic’ lemonade vendor

I am sad to announce that after seven years of serving you and your children, I have not been accepted into this year’s Durango Farmers Market. I know many of you have enjoyed my drinks over the years. It has truly been a pleasure getting to know you.

The reasons for my denial: Lemons are not locally grown, shortage of physical space, duplication of products and my “past performance.” I’d agree the lemons are not harvested locally, but I have been the only fresh-squeezed lemonade stand. The reference to my past performance was my disagreement with the board regarding its unwillingness to open up the market’s empty spaces to the rest of the community, like the artists and craftspeople wanting to display their work. I have now been labeled “negative” and “toxic” by the board.

This market’s governing board members can only be agricultural vendors. When I suggested that other vendors should have some representation, I was quickly told that “you and the others” are simply “invited guests” and never assume admission into the market each year. In other words, keep certain suggestions to yourself.

I’m still at the Telluride Farmers Market every Friday, where the governing board includes full representation of the entire market. That board includes a baker, an artist, a food vendor, a vegetable producer, a fruit vendor, a beef producer and a community member. This is a more Democratic approach in managing a market fairly for all. Returning vendors do establish seniority and aren’t replaced at the whim of one upset board member.

The agricultural vendors need our presence: The artists, massage therapists, the crafts, food and drinks, the music, the coffee, knife sharpening and baked goods vendors all help to create a diverse, attractive and well-attended market, so they can sell their veggies and beef – yet we’ll never be considered more than just “invited guests.”

If anyone in Durango has the desire to start a community market with all the different types of vendors having a voice in managing the market, I’d love to be a part.

Tom Cramer


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