What do a red-hot corncob, a Chinese back scratcher, and a bottle of Bennet’s Apple cider have in common? They were all used as weapons this morning, in a horrible brawl at the Hamilton Farmers’ Market. Eight people to hospital with major injuries.
“It was getting really ugly,” says eye witness, Carry Leverton. “And then someone threw a flaming pastry. That’s when shit got really real.”
What sparked this eruption of violence? The market’s planning committee’s decision to give away the last spot in the market to a dollar store instead of a vegan bakery.
The workers at one the flower shops, with the help of a cheese vendor, allegedly cornered several members of the committee while people were setting up their stalls. One committee member mentioned that every rose has its thorn, and that seemed to be the tipping point.
“It’s about integrity, isn’t it? It’s supposed to be a place of local commerce, not “Made in China” trinkets. Look at the place: neon lights, gaudy dollar signs everywhere, and lighters with naked chicks on them,” blasted the owner of a sweet shop.
The planning committee head, “Farmer” Joe Pittolli, sticks by their decision: “It was an easy choice. The farmers’ market has several bakeries, and there are only a few vegans anymore – it’s a fad diet, isn’t it? A dollar store is going to be a door crasher for us. It brings in a different crowd, and it’s dead useful for stall owners. You break a spatula, you need a shovel or a key chain – wham! You grab one for Farmer’s Dollars.”
The owner of the vegan bakery, Paige Flowers, is still making her case. “The idea is that I’d make vegan versions of popular baked goods: Twinkies, Wonderbread, Joe Louis, Flakies, you name it. It’s not going to be hippie bread with trail mix in it – it’s going to be exact replicas of mass-produced foods.”
We reached Cam Fong, owner of the Farmer’s Dollar, i hospital. “I just got my arm broken by a idiotic vegan. All I can say is that who would make artisan, mass-produced foods? If a vegan wants an Orea, too bad.”
The decision on the spot is final, but it looks like the feud is far from over.
Related article: fiasco in January, 2011 – covered by Macleans Magazine.