Shopping at a farmers’ market is awesome. You’re outdoors, all the food are fresh, seasonal, and colorful. The farmers are happy, and the locals are taking their time, surveying the goods. The farmers’ market feels more free and relaxed than your average Whole Foods. This sometimes leads to some odd behavior. So, let’s go over a few do’s and don’t when it comes to the farmers market.
Take from designated “sample” trays, if available
For some reason, people tend to think that they can sample everything at the farmers market. Although most will allow you to sample things like berries, you can’t just pick up an apple and take a bite. Or rip off a stalk of celery to see if the crunch is satisfactory.
Buy the box you sample from
If you do taste a few berries and like what you taste, buy the box that you took the berry from. It’s just common courtesy. Some stands will have a sample tray. Take from that tray, and not from the boxes that have been weighed out and are ready to sell.
Don’t squeeze produce too hard
If you are unsure about the onions or the tomatoes, or other veggies that you can’t taste, use your other senses. A tomato should feel heavy and firm. The skin should be shiny and smooth, without wrinkles or dark spots. When you do pick up veggies to feel them, don’t man-handle them. Handle them with kid gloves. Just because you aren’t satisfied with a piece of fruit, doesn’t mean someone else won’t be, so don’t ruin the fruit by giving it bruises.
Don’t touch produce to your nose
If you pick up produce and smell it, don’t touch it to your nose. It’s the same way you wouldn’t lick something and then put it back. Yes, we’re all handling the produce, but there’s something less appetizing about buying a tomato that someone just pushed up against their nose, than one that was merely held.
Don’t throw organic waste on the ground
It’s organic, it will decompose, I’ll just toss this apple core on the ground! Technically, you are right. But, if everyone starts tossing their corn shucks, carrot tops, and peapods on the ground it will be a giant mess once all the farmers’ leave. Ask the vendors if they keep a compost bucket in the back, or at least step away from the high trafficked area where vendors are trying to sell, and toss you banana peel in a nearby bush. Composting and recycling is good, but you don’t want fruit flies and the smell of decomposing organic waste to keep shoppers away.
Feel free to haggle
Last, it’s perfectly okay to haggle over the price. Especially if you are buying bulk. However, some farmers have set their prices for a reason, so if they say no, respect that. Remember, you are supporting your local community by shopping at the farmers market. Cut them a little slack. And, you’re buying foods that are seasonal, healthy, and bursting with natural flavor. Isn’t that worth a few extra pennies?