This past weekend we visited our local farmer's market, and I realized I'd forgotten how much I love that experience! At around 11AM we made our way over, baskets and cameras in hand. Personally, I would prefer to go earlier in the day, but because I had the early work shift, it was nice that I could still visit early in the day.
So in case you've never been to a local market, let me give you a little taste of this experience. Everyone sets up his or her own stand of vegetables, fruit, flowers, baked treats, etc. We were fortunate enough to have a really sweet little crepe food truck visiting this weekend, and though I didn't get a crepe (they have sugar in them, and I've already planned my splurge of the month elsewhere...;) just smelling the pancake-y scent wafting through the market and mixing with the coffee and flowers nearby was dreamy.
I visited a plant stand, among others, and while I was photographing her adorable succulent arrangements (see above), the little asian lady running it told me about how her daughter is taking a class in photography this year, and "needs a big camera just like that one." It made me smile to share a moment of aligned interests, even with a complete stranger. Don't you just love those moments?
A couple tips to keep in mind, if you're thinking of going to your local market--
1. Bring cash
Almost all vendors operate on a cash-only principle, so you don't want to be stuck with no way to buy the produce you want!
2. Pick and choose
A bit like thrifting, a farmer's market isn't always going to have the best version of everything you want every week. Look around and see what's good, and definitely if you can, purchase from your local farmers to support their businesses! What you don't find at the market, I would then go and supplement at the grocery store.
3. Bring a basket/bag
Not all vendors have baskets to spare, and depending on how much produce you want to buy, you could end up dumping it all in a plastic grocery bag, which makes for a mushy sorting session when you get home! Bringing a basket not only protects your softer vegetables, but also makes it easier to sort them a bit within the compartment. ;)
4. Make conversation (and buy something)
Most of the vendors I photographed seemed used to getting cameras over their vegetables, but that doesn't mean they're fond of it. In order to avoid the eagle-eye from a vendor while you're taking your pictures, make conversation with them. Ask them about their produce, what the growing season is and what makes them special (what is the difference between asian pears and organic pears? for example). Ask them if they mind your photographing their produce?
And of course, a little flattery never hurt anyone. One farmer asked me while I was snapping away if I "was getting enough pictures," and when I responded that "I couldn't help it - his squashes were so beautiful" (which they were), he seemed especially pleased, and showed me some more. Don't underestimate the power of friendliness - it could get you a shot you didn't even anticipate. You'll find people are more comfortable behind the camera if you're talking with them while you snap.
Also, buying something is a good idea, because at the end of the day, they have bills to pay too. It doesn't have to be big, and certainly not something from every vendor, but moving through the stalls taking pictures and not giving anything in return can be seen as a little rude.
Do you visit your local farmer's market regularly? What are your best tips, and your favorite things to purchase? Have you visited any other types of markets?
Stop by tomorrow for a bonus Farmer's Market outfit post!