Etiquette: The Do’s and Don’ts of Farmers Markets

by March 29, 2013 at 11:00 am 0

Looking for advice on how to accomplish your goals and make changes in 2013? Email Chelsea at askchelsea[AT]


The 14 & U Farmer’s Market is open spring through fall. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Spring, finally upon us, means the opening of many farmers markets in the area–a great pit stop after work or destination for a Sunday morning stroll (or date!). The sun is shining, flowers are blooming and the summer harvest is just around the corner.

Farmers markets connect consumers to the food they eat and the people that grow it. They also bring neighbors together to admire and appreciate fresh produce and homemade products. Hint: It’s also the best spot in town for people-watching.

The few that seem to forget these romantic sentiments can really bring down the whole communal vibe. While tolerance is key for any sales position, acting like a conscientious customer helps everyone else enjoy themselves more, too.  Here are some etiquette tips that go a long way with farmers, patrons and salespeople alike!

Tips for the Market

  • DO try out the samples. That’s what they are there for. Ask questions–tell your salesperson flavors you like and they will probably let you try before you buy.
  • DON’T sample the entire table as you pass by and then walk away. You can’t hide. Farmers are not in the business of making money and every apple used for samples is one less apple sold for profit.
  • DO save change during the week and use your coins! Exact change makes the math easier and gets you out of the checkout line quicker.
  • DON’T use a $100 bill for a purchase under $10. The cash register is not an ATM machine. Singles and tens can be hard to come by, so try to break your twenties before coming to the market if you can.
  • DO bring your own bags. Reusable (cloth) bags cut down on the cost of plastic on our environment as well as costs to farmers who make and purchase bags. If you need a plastic bag, reuse it for bagging your produce the following weeks or to line a waste bin at home.
  • DON’T hold up the line by talking on your cell phone during checkout–interact with the person behind the counter! Be considerate of those behind you–hang up the phone and organize your bags, money, tissues, receipts, change, gum wrappers, trash, etc. before you get in line.

The Dupont Freshfarm Market‘s spring hours begin Sunday, April 7: 8:30 am to 1 pm. The Penn Quarter Farmers Market runs every Thursday from 3 to 7 pm. Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market opens April 6 and the 14 and U Farmers’ Market opens May 5 (Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm).

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