I’ll tell you a little secret: unlike mothers and teachers, farmers are allowed to have favorites, as in favorite customers. And we do. Why does it matter if you are a favorite? Being a favorite can get you the first pick of a new crop, a choice melon, or the last bag of carrots in the fall. It also gets you freebies when things are less than perfect or in abundance. So just how do you become a farmer’s BFF? Here are ten ways:

  • Shop often. If you want local food for the taste, health benefits, or environmental reasons, the number one way to show that is to spend dollars with local farmers. There is no better way to ensure the future of local farms than to spend your money with them.
  • Ask questions. Farmers are always learning, experimenting, and figuring out how to grow things better and we are delighted when our customers are interested.
  • Express gratitude. Picking hornworms, worrying about lyme disease, harvesting lettuce when our fingers are freezing, lugging tons of pumpkins off the field, long days in the heat & cold…farming really is physically hard work and while we are generally outdoors people by nature, that doesn’t mean we enjoy harvesting tomatoes when it is 100 degrees or picking spinach in the driving rain.
  • Empathize. If late blight wipes out the tomato crop, empathize rather than criticize. Every dead plant is a financial and emotional loss for your farmer, so embrace the moment and eat what is abundant.
  • Complain to your farmer first. Most farmers are small business owners, which mean we live and die by our reputation. So, if you had too many bugs in your lettuce, your strawberries spoiled too fast, or your melon wasn’t ripe, tell us first and give us a chance to make up for it before you tell your friends on Facebook.
  • Share recipes and treats. Most farmers LOVE to eat. After all, that is usually one reason why we’re in this business. So, if you make a fabulous salsa, delish pumpkin bread, or a tangy salad dressing, bring us a sample and a recipe we can share with other customers.
  • Bring your compost. We love worm food! Your bucket of rotten veggie scraps will make us smile!
  • Come and help. Some tasks are easier with many hands. A little volunteering goes a long way towards being your farmer’s favorite!
  • Tell your friends. Give your farmer the ultimate compliment – send your friends over to the farm!
  • Spend money. Did we already mention this? Keeping your food dollars local is the best way to ensure the future of our small farms. Every farmer is trying to pay the bills, provide employment for others, and have enough left over for a decent standard of living.
Get to know Elizabeth Almeida (12 Posts)

Elizabeth Almeida is founder, head farmer, chief weeder, and top taster at organic vegetable farm Fat Moon in Westford. She also plans healthy living events for the farm through the Center for Healthy Living and Learning. Foodie magazines will give you the scoop on the tastiest and trendiest foods to eat, but Elizabeth will give you the dirt on food - how it is grown, what is good to eat, and maybe some insights into the giant food system that gets us whatever we want to eat in every season. Her passion and her businesses help folks untangle their way to health!

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