Food critic says that shopping for dinky, artisan products is fun – but we shouldn't think that we're changing the system.

This article titled “Farmers' markets won't change the world” was written by Jay Rayner, for The Observer on Saturday 16th July 2011 23.05 UTC

Shopping for luxury goods is an act of acute narcissism. It's all about the positive light in which we view ourselves, and the unnecessary rewards we think we deserve or, even worse, need, as a result. That Mulberry handbag! Those Manolo Blahniks! The joyously slinky iPad 2! Gimme! Shopping in a modern British farmers' market is exactly the same kind of narcissistic act, only it comes with a greasy veneer of self-righteousness. It doesn't feel like that, of course. Wandering from the artisan breadmaker to the cheese guy to the bloke who only sells beef from wild cattle that are slaughtered lovingly to the wafting melodies of Verdi, feels like a sacrament, a physical expression of an ideology. It's like Hare Krishnas donning the saffron robes – an outward expression of a belief.

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