It’s hard for a Northern California local-foods booster like me to imagine never having been to a farmers’ market (my first trip was at age 11 or 12), but I loved seeing this article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer: “First Trip to the Farmers Market? 7 Tips from the Pros.”

The thing about farmers markets is, if you’re not familiar with them, they can seem pretty foreign. Freed from the broad aisles and neon lights of the grocery store, they sell food on nature’s terms—not our own. Here, when a fruit or vegetable is in season it actually matters, since nothing comes from half a world away.

The tips are all pretty straightforward, but it can be nice even for the experienced marketer to step back and appreciate the special synergy of a farmers’ market. The article interviews vendors who talk about the “sensory overload” that first-time attendees experience: “They’re in a daze, walking around, and they don’t know what to do.” (Or maybe they just haven’t found the coffee stall yet.)

“Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions,” vendors recommend. “Even if you can’t tell an onion from a radish … [n]o question is too weird.”

The article talks about the atmosphere: the social interaction, the music, and the dogs (in Seattle, that is; bringing Fido is against California health regulations). “Is this a market, or a town fair? Whatever it is, it’s more fun than Aisle 12.”

One of the vendors interviewed sums it up perfectly, reminding me why I get out of the house early each Saturday: “This is a good feeling kind of place.”

What are you doing this weekend?

See more articles