When you first arrive, walk through the entire market and look at all the offerings before you buy. New items will appear each week.
Always bring lots of small bills and change. You will be paying at each individual farmer's stand and there is no central checkout or ATM.
Certified Farmers’ Markets are permitted Food Facilities and so no dogs (except service dogs) are allowed. The grass area adjacent to the market is perfect for having one person hold/watch a dog while the other shops.
Bring large cloth or net shopping bags. It will save multiple trips to your car to unload. Please try to remember to reuse the produce bags provided by the farmers. Save them and bring them back to refill next time you come to market. This will help with the farmer’s costs and also be beneficial to the environment.
The Vandenberg Village Certified Farmers' Market is an outdoor market, dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes. Fanny or waist packs are the best and safest way to keep money and keys. You don't have to worry about setting a purse or a wallet down and you have both hands free to shop and carry your shopping bags.
Make sure you know where your car keys are. The number one lost and found items are car keys. Nine times out of ten the shopper will have them in hand when shopping and unconsciously put the keys in one of the produce bags along with the produce.
Bargaining for small amounts is not well received. Bargaining for big boxes or great amounts is usually acceptable. Remember that these are the growers of the produce. Do not insult them with unnecessary and small quantity bargaining. They worked very hard to sell so cheap.
Most of the produce is unsorted and field run. Some of the best tasting fruit is cosmetically challenged. Most of the produce is vine or tree ripened. This means they can be delicate to the touch, so be careful not to damage the farmer’s pride and joy. This is fruit only found direct from the grower. It is too fragile to ship to the wholesale market.
Farmers may hand out samples of their product. This allows you to try an item that you may be unfamiliar with, or just to prove his/her variety is the juiciest/tastiest. Some items you see at a farmers' market you may be unfamiliar with. Since the farmers don't have to worry much about the "shipping ability" of a product, they can grow and offer products you won't see at a supermarket. Since most of the produce has been picked within that last 24 hours at its peak of ripeness, you may be surprised with how different some things taste.
If the farmer is not too busy, don't hesitate to ask questions about recipes or growing methods. You might even get to know each other's name.
Remember, farmers' markets are not just about buying things, they're a shopping experience meant to promote a locally based food culture and a sense of community. Enjoy the fact you're shopping outdoors, the live entertainment, your neighbors shopping alongside you who are obviously like minded, and the fact that we're lucky enough to live in an area with an abundance local food.