You have no idea how excited I was to get back to the farmers market after I returned from my Birthday Trip to China. For two Saturdays before we left I didn’t go because we were too focused on clearing out the fridge. We arrived back late on the 4th of July, so it was the next Saturday before I could resupply at Farmers Market of the Ozarks.

What I was not excited about was going to the market at 10:45 in the morning. For one, the best stuff is long gone by then. The peaches that were left were a little bruised and battered. The what should have been plentiful supply of zucchini was virtually absent. I luckily got my hands on the last paleo pizza crust from Pizza Crust Creations (for a Healthy Pizza recipe from the Ultimate Oxygen Challenge meal plan).

The other thing I disliked was the crowd. It was a hot muggy morning, but there were still people everywhere! I love that more and more people are choosing to buy local. I dislike that they don’t take the time to learn the ropes and mind their manners. That’s why I thought this might be an excellent opportunity for a lesson in Farmers Market Etiquette.

  1. Bring your own bags or baskets.

    If you stop at seven different vendors to buy products that can mean seven different bags if you don’t bring your own. That’s more than you might pick you on your average trip to the grocery store! Bringing your own bag is not only good for the planet it also helps reduce cost for the farmer. Bringing a quality product to market is a labor of love with a small profit margin. You can help a farmer keep costs down bringing your reusable tote or basket.

  2. Bring cash.

    While tools like Square make credit cards payments more accessible, cash is still king at the market. Primarily it’s about keeping costs down (for example Square charges vendors an average of 2.75% per swipe) but it’s also about efficiency. In this case, cash is much quicker than plastic too. When you’ve got a line of people waiting on a hot crowded day, having ones and fives available to pay with makes everyone happier.

  3. Think twice about bringing your pets.

    I love puppy watching at the market but not every dog is ready for the excitement. An overexcited animal can be hazardous to itself and others. In a crowd it is easy to get tangled in a leash or lose track of Fido has he stops to check out the bins of squash at ground level. Also not all markets welcome pets. Dogs visiting Farmers Market of the Ozarks are required to be part of the Canine Good Citizens Program for everyone’s health and safety.

  4. The aisles are for shopping not socializing.

    The market can be a great place to meet up with friends for shopping and a snack. Congregating in the middle of  the already congested aisles is not the right place to do it. Find a bench, wall or picnic table for the party and leave the aisles clear for those who are on the move.

  5. Don’t try to make a meal of the samples.

    What works at Costco on a Sunday morning doesn’t play so well at the farmers market. When a vendor offers samples it is so you can learn about a new to you food or check out the flavor or ripeness. Please don’t take advantage of this kindness and try to turn it into brunch. Grabbing a berry from a quart box to taste test is NOT okay.

If you play by the rules we can all have a great farmers market experience no matter what time of day you go!

What’s your biggest farmers market pet peeve?

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