As spring rolls on our little farm gears up in preparation for weekly farmers markets. Going to the market is one of my personal favourite tasks. I enjoy chatting with customers, sampling the fantastic wares from other stalls, and generally soaking in the atmosphere. The vast majority of all shoppers that I get to meet are enjoyable to interact with. However, some customers bring an attitude or approach that is particularly helpful during the busy market hours. Here are some of the ways that my favourite customers interact with their local market and its vendors.
5 Happy Habits for Shopping at a Farmers Market
1. Be open minded
If you come to your farmers market with expectations that it will be similar to a supermarket you will be disappointed. You will also miss out on all the fun. The vendors at your local market can introduce you to some wonderfully unique products, share recipes with you, and teach you all sorts of interesting things about their niche.
2. Bring a shopping bag
Yes, our bags are reused. However, we go through a lot of them and have to source them from all sorts of places. We try to reduce the numbers we give out, but it is necessary for us to have them on hand. We often fear running out. Many dedicated customers bring woven baskets or cloth bags, which means we don’t have to proliferate the throw-away plastic that is in the world.
3. Be appreciative
No one becomes a market farmer because they want to make it rich. That said, the work can be very satisfying and fulfilling. Some of the most gratifying moments come from customers who express their thanks for the work we put in and the produce we provide.
4. Bring small cash
This isn’t really a problem for our stall, but many vendors have a lower customer influx and can’t keep as much cash on hand. Small-denomination bills and change can give a harried vendor some peace of mind. It is never fun to miss out on a sale because we can’t take credit cards or break a $100 bill.
5. Be willing to pay the asking price
While the culture of markets may differ, vendors at a farmers market have generally carefully considered the pricing on their products. Sometimes we don’t even want to sell all our cilantro at once because we like to have the variety for other customers. While you can make polite inquiries for leftover produce at the end of the day, it is generally polite to pay the posted price. Would you quibble over your quinces at the grocery store? If you truly want an item in bulk than simply ask the vendor if they are able to provide it and if you could arrange for pick up from the farm gate.
Most of all, plan to enjoy your visit to the farmers market! It’s all about attitude, and the best customers are having the best time. The wonderful atmosphere of a market is fostered by people who believe in what they are both buying and selling. How do you interact with your local farmers market?