How to Not Be a Jerk at the Farmers’ Market

You’ve read what to bring and how to navigate the market. Now there is one last list for you to skim. It’s what every farmer wishes you knew before rummaging through their peaches and letting your dog sniff under their stall. Read on lovers.


Don’t Touch. Ask First

Some farmers are down with you fondling their produce. Some are not. Be respectful and ask first. If you are supposed to be picking your own produce – handle it gently. Don’t squeeze and prod every one in the pile before choosing. Most of the time a farmer will be able to pick the produce for the time you want to consume it. A melon for next Monday please? Leave the thumping to them.


Don’t Show Up Too Early

Presentation is an important part of shopping. Farmers load up all their produce, drive from their farm to the market, and then the tedious process of unloading, setting up tents, tables, and signs. Give them space and let them do their thing. Don’t try to haggle with them over a bunch of kale while they are drinking their third cup of coffee for the morning. You will know when a booth is ready. Oh, and there are always “hours of operation” that are posted on websites. Abide by the times.


Don’t Show Up Too Late

When the hours for the market are over don’t expect to flag down their truck in the parking lot to get a great deal. Feel free to try and talk about prices at the end of the morning market. But again, if a market goes from 10-2, don’t come at 2:30 and demand half price for tomatoes.


Don’t Ask to Break Big Bills

Bring cash. And while you are at it have some ones, fives and tens. Don’t ask a farmer to break a twenty when you just bought three apples.


Don’t Expect Farmers to Have Bags

Many farmers will have plastic bags for you to tote home your freshly purchased produce in. But you shouldn’t assume they will. Be prepared and bring your own plastic or reusable bags.


Don’t Steal the Samples

Farmers often love to share slices of a fresh peach or little nibbles of their new spiced chocolate for you to test. Again, ask first before sampling. Sometimes these small samples aren’t free. Take note: people will recognize when you come back to grab that cracker at their booth for the third time. At this point, you better be ready to buy.


Don’t Contaminate the Product

Double dipping. Just don’t do it.


Don’t Let You Dog Run Wild

If your dog pees on their sign, chews on the leg of the table, or straight up makes off with their food…. Fix it. It’s understood that accidents do happen. When they do – offer to pay for the damages if any are done.


Don’t Steal

Although it seems like a silly thing to mention. Many a farmer have seen a cucumber slip into a tote or two.


Don’t Tell Your Woes

Farmer’s generally love to educate you on their produce or products. They also love to talk about how to incorporate any given vegetable into a recipe. However, they don’t necessarily want to hear about your breakup, your in-laws, or that you couldn’t decide which rain boots to wear today. Cut them some slack and store the gossip and gabbing for your friends.

[bctt tweet=”Ten ways you’re pissing your farmer off at the market.”]

Image Credit: Alexandra Thomas


  1. Terri Lynn April 29, 2016 at 1:17 am - Reply

    I love these! So common sense but also so things that would be easy to do! I was thinking about going to the local farmers market this weekend for the first time so great timing!

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