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Old 07-14-2010, 11:24 AM   #1 (permalink)
Kick Ass Kunoichi
 
snowy's Avatar
 
Location: Oregon
Farmers Markets

There's no doubt about it. I love my local farmer's market. We have a farmer's market on Wednesday evenings from 4-8, and another market on Saturdays from 9am-1pm. It's not unusual for me to hit up both markets. I try to eat seasonally, and one of the easiest ways to do this is to buy my produce from the farmer's market, because they really don't sell much that isn't in season. The one exception to this seems to be Oregon strawberries, which some of the local farmers have figured out how to grow everbearing plans in greenhouses (I'm not complaining). I go to the market because I want to know the people who grow my food. It's nice being able to chat to my farmer. One of the farmers in particular often has recipes she shares with me, and I appreciate that a lot! I feel lucky to live in an area with a farmer's market, and with one that is so totally awesome. Right now, we only have 6 weeks a year without a farmer's market in my community.

Below is a piece on farmer's market etiquette from the Kitchn that I liked. I thought it did a great job of addressing some things I've seen around my own market, such as people stopping in the middle of the aisle, or just stopping in general, without thinking about the person who happens to be RIGHT BEHIND THEM. I understand our market is wonderful and a beautiful place, but I do sure wish more people would read this list and be cognizant of where they are, so I share it with you in the hopes that maybe, somehow, everyone will read this and be aware of where they are.

The Farmers' Market: Helpful Hints and Etiquette Tips | Apartment Therapy The Kitchn

Quote:
Here's a few basic tips for Farmers Market etiquette. What helpful hints can you share?

Make it easier on you
If you want to avoid the crowds and have the best selection, go when the market is just opening.
If you want to get the best deals, go close to closing time.
Wear comfortable shoes, sunscreen and/or a wide brimmed hat, bring water.
Remember your cloth bags and bring smaller spare plastic bags as well (many Bay Area FM are going plastic bag free.)
If you tend to overspend, set a budget for yourself and only bring that amount to the market, plus your driver's license or ID. Leave your wallet at home.
Put your money in an easily accessible (to you!) pocket and if you did bring a wallet, keep it tucked away in a safe place.
Take a quick stroll around the market and peruse the goods before you buy. There's nothing worse than purchasing a pound of blueberry only to find them for $1 cheaper a few stalls down.
If your market doesn't offer at least a few chairs and a table for a resting spot, consider requesting them. Most markets have an info table where you can get more information.
Get to know your farmers, talk to them, build relationships.
Don't hurry. Farmers' Markets are for strolling.
Have fun! Explore! Try one new thing each time you go!

Make it easier on the farmers
Get to know your farmers but don't hold them up with endless chatter if their booth is busy. If you want time for a chat, try coming earlier.
Don't over-handle the goods.
Pay attention during your transaction.
Not all farmer's want to bargain, especially in the beginning hours of the market. That said, some do, so if your interested, make an offer but don't push it.
Try samples if they're obviously being offered and ask if they're not, but don't just start eating from the display.

Make it easier on others
If you are roaming in a large group, be mindful that you take up a lot of space.
Try to avoid stopping in the middle of the aisle and chatting, thus creating a traffic jam.
Don't overly engage the farmers at a busy booth with questions and sample requests. If you want a lot of attention, go early but don't make others wait as you sample six kinds of plum slices.
Be aware of the space and rhythms of movement around you.
Bringing the dog, the baby in a stroller, two toddlers and grandma with you to the market is a sweet thing. Really it is! But be sure you can keep the entourage contained.

PS: An excellent book on what it's like to be a vendor at a Farmer's Market is called Blithe Tomato by Mike Madison (Deborah's brother.) His wry and witty observations may help to guide your behavior.
A few questions for you: Do you go to the farmer's market? Do you even live somewhere where a farmer's market is available? If you do go, why do you go? What do you like most about your farmer's market?
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Old 07-14-2010, 01:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
Riding the Ocean Spray
 
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Location: S.E. PA in U Sofa
I love farmer's markets and we have quite a few within driving distance, a couple even within walking distance. But I live just outside a "big" city (Philadelphia) so the ones closest to town and where I live aren't as rural, old fashioned as some others. One example of what the more rural ones have that the more urban ones don't (at least around here) is the sale/auction of livestock, like cows, pigs, horses, chickens, etc. and an area where they auction off other cool stuff or junk, depending on your perspective; sometimes the auction items are old furniture that I like or farming or other types of tools.

These more rural ones I go to less often, maybe once or twice a year; my kids enjoy it, too, mostly because of the live animals and the rural atmosphere. The closer ones we go to at least once a week. While they have great fruits, vegies, meats, baked goods, etc., to me they are quite "yuppified" but still with generally high quality products, though not priced as reasonably as the rural markets...transportation costs and passing thru another set of hands adds cost; even though the presence of the Amish and Pennsylvania Dutch is quite prevalent at these markets (they have their own booths for selling their wares) and I wouldn't call them yuppies, though they seem to have cleverly figured out the sources of good cash flow.

The main reason I like the ones I most frequent is the high quality foods, especially locally grown organic and non-organic meats and vegies. Good sushi stand, too.
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