There are many advantages to shopping at a farmers market. You can build relationships with the men and women who grow your food, and support locally grown food. But with Farmers Market season right around the corner, here is a brush-up on some basic farmers market etiquette:
- Please be conscious of space limitations of your booth at the market. Often times thru-ways need to be kept open for vehicles and/or people. It is best to stay within the marked areas of your allotted booth.
- Be courteous of other vendors. Refrain from talking badly about other vendors and/or discouraging customers from buying from them. If you know another vendor is breaking a rule or acting unfairly feel free to report them to the market manager. “Just use the Golden Rule,” said Matt McMullin, of McMullin Orchards said, “Treat others like you want to be treated.”
- Send informed employees. Make sure all employees know the market rules, and where their booth space is located. Also, if you are a vendor that accepts returns/exchanges/special discounts, please be sure to inform all your employees.
- If you’re going to sample fruit, only sample it in front of your spot. Sometimes people think the fruit is from the vendor you’re in front of when it’s from somewhere else.
- We understand a stroll through the farmer’s market on a Saturday morning wouldn’t be the same without your furry friend by your side. However, if you choose to bring your dog to the market you are responsible for his actions. Please keep all pets on a tight leash, and do not allow them to do “business” on tents, low-laying produce, tables, etc. “Unless you plan on buying it,” McMullin said. “Don’t let your dog sit on produce.”
- Bring cash and your own bags. Most vendors don’t accept credit/debit cards, and many don’t provide bags.
- Barter responsibly. Usually farmers are willing to make a deal, if you’re buying in bulk. But be courteous and respectful of their need to profit and the effort that went into growing the produce. “We are willing to barter if you buy a large quantity,” said Cari Tagge owner of Tagge’s Famous Fruit & Veggie Farms. “But if you buy a little amount we appreciate if you pay what we have priced.” Vendors spend time and effort pricing their produce, they don’t price at random. “We want it to be competitive with the stores,” Tagge said. “Sometimes we charge more because the produce might have been picked that same day so it’s fresher or better quality. We also consider supply and demand of the market.” McMullin also said that loyalty goes a long way when it comes to bartering, “If you are a consistent buyer and come to me every week you’re more likely to get a deal,” he said.
This basic etiquette will make your experience at the market more enjoyable this season. So get out there this summer and happy shopping!