30 January 2009


Donny has a favorite bread called Black Pepper Parmesan that is made by Manhattan Bread & Bagel.  He will often ride his bike down on Tuesdays to the Manhattan Beach Farmers' Market to pick up a loaf or two.  Even though he likes to make that ride a couple times a week for exercise, its a long way to go just for bread.  Twenty-four miles roundtrip to be exact. Last time he was at the market, the guy told Donny MB&B will start selling products at the Venice Farmers' Market. Wonderful!  So this morning we rode the 1/2 mile and scoured the small, but plentiful market and found MB&B around the corner at the end.  Much to our surprise we walked up to a dozen plastic containers full of...bagels.  Donny nicely asked the guy if he had any bread.  The man replied simply, but with some anger and resentment, that he is only allowed to sell bagels and he can't sell anything else.  So I bought a bagel (and it was really tasty!).  

Disappointed, Donny found Jim who is the guy that runs the Venice Farmers' Market. Jim decided to give us a little lesson in big business.  His speil was basically about how The Breadman has been here for 14 years and MB&B has been here for 2 weeks.  He contests that MB&B is actually a bakery and has too much inventory.  Not sure why that's a bad thing.  He went on to say that if MB&B can sell anything they want then the Bread Man will be out of business.  And then an even larger company will come along and push out MB&B.  The moral of the story, according to Jim, is that soon we'll just have only big businesses at the farmers' market.  Yet oddly, the Rockenwagner stand sells anything they want (including bread) - they are not only a bakery, but a cafe too!  With 3 locations!  That seems to be a much larger establishment than MB&B.  I think a little competition is good and it also gives people options.  There isn't just one stand that sells orange juice or just one stand that sells berries, so why can't we have more than 2 stands selling bread?

Here is one of the rules from the Venice Farmers' Market Operating Rulebook8. Producers are admitted into the market based on the following considerations: consumer demand, product mix or competition at the VFM, and/or seniority on the waiting list.

I tend to think we're pretty knowledgeable about our local bread and we weren't there just to give Jim or the Venice Farmers' Market a hard time. We've had at least a dozen experiences with The Bread Man bread going stale in a matter of days. We've tried so many things, including putting it in the bread box, a plastic bag, a paper bag, a plastic bag in a paper bag. And though Rockenwagner has amazing challah, the normal bread loaves are extremely dense and dry that it is often impossible to cut or bite down. All we want is our Black Pepper Parmesan bread.  Isn't that enough consumer demand?


John Wildermuth said...

I like that Donny gets a 24 mile bike workout in which definitely would allow him to eat lots of bread without thinking about the carbs! That could be worth not having it at the local market...

Arturo said...

Hey Donny,

I just wanted to say that I purchase the breadman's products all the time and they are wonderful. You do know that they are made with no preservatives and are all natural.It's not wonderbread or Roman meal. You can freeze the bread and it will last for a good month.It will also keep it's freshness. Those are real breads and not something full of presarvatives and additives like MB&B or Webers.

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