Market-iquette: the do's and dont's of shopping at the market.

some days i just wake up thinking yep. i need to hit up the market.  and when it happens to be a wednesday, when i know parking is free for your first hour, there is literally nothing stopping me. during the summer months, Cincinnati's FINDLAY MARKET stays open all week long and has super convenient hours. it's one of my favorite spots in the city and people come from hours away to take advantage of it. and since i live about 5 minutes away, there is no excuse to not get my seafood, desserts, fresh breads and flowers from the locals that come there every week! it's amazing and i'm always proud to stop in, take a few photos and see how full of life the place is. 

that being said, this place is a mad house on the weekends. in the best way possible, of course. i love seeing places swarmed with business. it means that money is going back into our little culture down here and it can thrive. it's beautiful. it's a blessing. but it can also be a pain in the you know what. 

i've been wanting to do this post for the past couple of months, it seems way more crucial to do a post like this at the beginning of summer when most people are starting their market trips… but hey, what are ya gonna do. so here we are. in august. Womp. 

i wanted to do a quick post on what i like to call Marketiquette (probably my favorite pun i've ever created in my whole existence) it's what i like to call "the do's and don't of how to not be a jerk at the market place so that no one wants to kick rocks at you" yay! i'm sure there's a million other pieces of friendly farmers market advice out there --feel free to add them-- but these are my top ones!   
1. Get there early, car pool or walk. 
I don't know how other markets work, but in this city parking is super limited. there's a few lots sprinkled around the market grounds but finding a spot on the weekend can cause a lot of headaches, honking and sometimes a bumper scratch if you aren't super careful. you're here for a relaxing day at the market, people. don't start it off in a bad mood screaming at the guy next to you. he's just trying to get his jar of organic honey, too! And here's where you have some options: going to the market thru the week is great. parking is much more readily available and cheaper, too. now granted if you go during the week, you're going to miss out a good chunk of vendors that are only there during the weekends. so it's just a matter of what's more important to you. easy parking or more vendors? choice is yours! my point is, but be patient when parking.  
2. Bring a market bag.
this is just my theory, but i figure the less plastic bags i have to take from the vendors to hold all of my loot, the cheaper the prices of my tomatoes stay.  find a bag that's easy to wash, super durable and if it's cute that's always a plus. i got mine from the the City Flea. Hit the link and grab yourself one at the next market! also, I find it's easier to juggle a lot of stuff if you can throw it all into one bag rather than carry around a bunch of little ones.  Bring your own market bag and help save this little dirt ball that we call earth! 
3. Cash Cash Cash
I know. it's 2015. and a paper dollar doesn't do you much good when it comes to paying your electric bill. but at the market, it's super helpful. it speeds up the lines and on occasion, i've gotten discounts from paying with cash. plus, if you're anything like me, you have a hard time avoiding temptation. Bring a $10, $20 or $50 and leave the rest at home. it will help you set boundaries. double plus, $10 can go ridiculously far here. today, i bought a huge bunch of parsley, an onion and some garlic gloves for a dollar. Shwing!
4. Kids and strollers.
Before i make all of my mama friend's tail feathers ruffle up, let me just say i think everyone big or small should be at the market. it's brightly colored with a million interesting things to stare at and if i were 3 again, i think i would still love going to the market. with that being said, kids are one of my biggest anxieties there. i see little ones running up and down the aisles by themselves while their parents are picking out their deli meat. i'm always afraid a little one is going to run out a door, crawl under a table or follow the wrong person and go missing. (this is all probably why i stick to having a dog) just try and keep and eye on the little guys. 
as far as strollers go, i understand kids and babies have a lot of luggage that comes along with them. but when someone brings one of those huuuuge cadillac escalade style strollers down the 5 foot wide aisles at the market, it makes things kinda tricky for everyone. i've seen moms that bring giant diaper bags and huge strollers and watched everyone around her become disgruntled when they have to squeeze up next to the display cases to let her through. pack only the necessities (maybe leave the big diaper bag out in the car?) and if possible, bring your slimmest strollers. the rest of the market walkers will thank you!
5. Be ready to order.
this doesn't really apply as much in the outdoor markets here, where it's full of cucumbers and watermelons. but when you're inside at the deli counters and you're surrounded by 20 different types of bacon and 4 different aged cheddars, you might need more time to think your choices over. and since there is usually a line, don't hesitate to let them skip over you and come back when you're ready. when the vendor makes their way over to you and you have nooo idea what you need or want, it slows down the process for everyone. just tell them, "i'm not ready! come back to me!" rather than try to quickly order. you'll likely pick something that you don't want just because you felt rushed and then you have to deal with an even bigger hassle. Saying "i'm not ready" is way better than "uhhhhhhhhhh can i uhhhhhhh let me get uhhhhhh …" move it along, dude! i came for salmon filets and i'm ready to order!
So there ya go, my top 5 pieces of Marketiquette. 
carpool with friends, while carrying your market bag full of cash, diapers (because you left your big diaper bag at home, right?) and have your order ready when the vendor gets to ya! 

I'll be back with more, I'm sure. and i hope none of this comes off as brash or rude. it's just nice to be aware of your surroundings and to keep places like the market flowing as smooth as possible. thanks for reading! and if you have any pieces of advice, feel free to comment them below! yay for market life!

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