News & Politics

“Take One Sample—Please”and Other Farmers Market Etiquette

The Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market is one of the busiest in our area, with locals and tourists all jockeying for that perfectly plump tomato or that sample of ripe peach. We asked the seasoned vendors for some of their do’s and don’ts for customer behavior.

Go easy on the free samples. Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock.


Bring your own bag

“We really like that,” says Emily Best of New Morning Farm. “We
try to use as little plastic as possible.”

Bring recipes

“If there’s something the farmer is out of, they can suggest a
substitution,” says Cedarbrook Farm’s David Ober.

Ask questions

“People can ask about the mushrooms, recipes, whatever they
want,” says Ferial Welsh of the Mushroom Stand.

Carry singles

“Bring small change,” says Dave Dowling, owner of Farmhouse
Flowers & Plants. “Don’t come with a $100 bill.”

Chat with fellow marketers

“Ask other people in line for advice,” says Sheilah Goodman of
Cedarbrook Farm. “Some of the best recipes and techniques come from


Stay glued to your phone

“Don’t talk on your cell phone when someone’s checking you
out,” says Tim Streightiff, a cashier at New Morning Farm.

Snap away

“Ask before you start taking photographs,” says Susan Painter,
owner of the Red Zebra.


“Don’t haggle over prices,” says Dowling. “And don’t come at
the end of the day expecting a discount.”


“That annoys the hell out of people,” says Dolcezza co-owner
Robb Duncan. “We work the market over and over, and these people come
regularly every time. You’re on the radar!”

Leave your trash

“We have to take all our trash with us,” says Keswick Creamery
owner Melanie Dietrich-Cochran, who frequently finds large coffee cups in
the container she puts out for used toothpicks. “I end up taking a full
cooler of trash back—and all we have out is toothpicks.”

More Farmers Markets ››