Of course, there is an abundance of food at area farmers tailgate markets. But that isn’t the only cornucopia — people and a sense of community abound at markets as well. There is something fulfilling and wholesome about seeing the same faces week after week, year after year. As a visitor or newcomer, you’re sure to be welcomed with smiles, conversations, and ready answers to questions. Food certainly makes markets, but they would be nothing without the extraordinary people who grow, raise, produce, preserve, bake, and bring all that food to us.
Although relationships with farmers at market are enriching, many folks sometimes find them intimidating to start. Perhaps you’re a new market shopper, visiting a new market for the first time, or a veteran shopper meeting a new vendor. Either way, building new bridges is the first step to those relationships.
Questions are a great place to start. Asking a farmer about themselves or their farm is an excellent opportunity to get to know them — just be mindful of potential customers waiting behind you. Additionally, you can introduce yourself. Not sure what to say? You can tell a farmer about your experience shopping at market, and if you’re new, they’ll often offer suggestions or recipes. Farmers are usually enthusiastic about discussing what they grow.
Relationships with farmers can change over time. Perhaps you decide to stop eating dairy and are no longer buying the cheese you used to get every week. You can still stop by to say hi to that farmer, check in on how things are going, and maintain your relationship.
Not everyone wants to build relationships when they shop, and that’s ok too. You can shop at markets every week and only talk about the transaction if that feels best for you.
Whichever path you take, farmers and vendors will greet you with a smile and provide you with the high-quality products they’ve worked very hard to locally grow, raise, produce, and bring to market.
Each week, farmers have a wide array of fruits and vegetables. In addition to produce, you can always find a range of meats, cheeses, eggs, breads, baked goods, value-added items, fresh flowers, and other treats!
Area farmers tailgate markets take place throughout the region. As always, you can find information about farms, tailgate markets, and farm stands, including locations and hours, by visiting ASAP’s online Local Food Guide.