Farmers Market Etiquette and Tips

Farmers Market Etiquette and TipsAs your local farmers market grows, we are noticing an abundance of new faces on Saturday mornings at the Fernandina Beach Market Place on N. 7th Street in historic, downtown Fernandina Beach. To make your shopping experience at the market even better, here are some etiquette tips and shopping do’s and don’ts.

Tips:
1. Vendors love to tell you about their goods. Don’t hesitate to ask, “How hot is this pepper?” or “What is the best way to reheat that home baked pie?”
2. Bring your own shopping bags, one for wet products and one for dry. Reusable green bags and insulted bags with strong handles are the best.
3. There is still food to sell on rainy days, and the vendors truly appreciate you joining us even when the weather is not perfect.
4. If you want to stay and listen to the music or catch up with friends, you are welcome to bring a blanket or chair; we’ll find a place for you to rest.
5. We want you to bring the stroller, your kids, your grandmother, and your dog; when the Market Place is crowded with excited customers, please don’t block the streets.
6. This is a farmers market, not a yard sale, you don’t haggle with cashier at Publix do you?
7. Many vendors now accept credit cards.
8. Many vendors give discounts for returned jars or pie dishes.
9. Ask questions, but if there are several people in line behind you; make your purchase and ask your remaining questions later, when the vendor is not so busy.
10. If you are unhappy with a product, let the vendors know. This is different that taking a return to a big box store, at the farmers market you often are dealing directly with the owner, president and CEO of the company.

To do:
1. Arrive early to take advantage of the largest selections.
2. Shop when the market opens, or come an hour before closing to avoid the crowds.
3. Bring small bills, no 20, 50 or $100 bills, please!
4. Taste the difference in honey flavors, breads, cheeses and more by trying the samples, that is what they are there for.
5. Get to know the vendors and farmers at the market, they go that extra mile for their regular customers.
6. Dress appropriately and comfortably; this is an outdoor experience.
7. Bring your children, for so many reasons!
8. Knowing what is in season helps you plan your meals before arriving at the market.
9. Shop both sides of the market first, then go back to purchase your goodies.
10. Wash your fresh produce when you get home.

Not to do:
1. Don’t expect to haggle for a bargain unless you are making a very large purchase, or it is the end of the day.
2. Don’t hold up the line by talking on your cell phone.
3. Don’t touch everything you see. Farmers market produce is more fragile than grocery store produce.
4. Don’t let your kids eat all of the vendor’s samples, this is not where you bring the kids for a free lunch.
5. Don’t waste a vendor’s time asking how to grow your own vegetables, or make your own homemade soaps, “Google it.”
6. Don’t ruin products by setting your purse, shopping bag of cabbage, or your toddler onto a table of bread and cookies.
7. Don’t attempt to drive your vehicle into the market. The street is closed!
8. Don’t freak out if you find a bug in your produce; more bugs means fewer pesticides, organic or not.
9. Don’t park illegally. Downtown Fernandina has plenty of parking, on Centre Street, the side streets and in public lots.
10. Don’t be afraid to try something new.

Join us on September 21, 2013, from 9:00 to 1:00 pm. We have plenty of exhibitors who bring seasonal fruits and vegetables, home baked pies, fresh baked breads, grass fed meats, organic treats, sauces, pickles, olives, jams, dog treats, and so much more.

Music will be provided by Larry LeMier, and the YMCA will be at the market to tell you more about their mission in our community. The 3rd Annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s will begin at 9:00 at Central Park, and the Seventh Street Gallery will be open during our market hours with a show featuring a delightful “Who’s Who” of local artists.

For more information please find us on facebook or call (904) 557-8229.

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