She's skinny and diminutive - about 5'4" - and she wears a big black hat and matching long black trenchcoat, along with eyeglasses. She creeps up to innocent, unsuspecting produce stands at the farmers market and maliciously goes in for her kill. She is the Market Thief. She's sneaky - she'll pay for one item, say, a cucumber or a bunch of spinach, but then she'll deviously leave with three times that amount.
"Don't manhandle us!"
"She looks like a villain, like a character from a cartoon," says a hardworking farmer who can be found every Sunday at the Ballard Farmers Market (and who requested anonymity in the interest of brutal honesty). "She was one of my regulars. The guys over here turned me on to her," he says, gesturing towards a neighboring stall. "So I watched her, and she did it. But I wasn't gonna chase somebody down who wanted more food."
The Market Thief is a dangerous and demonic figure--but she's not the only annoyance that these farmers have to deal with at the market. You--the customer, the browser, whatever you are--are another one. These are four reasons why the farmers market hates you, straight from the farmer's mouth:4. "When people go through the produce and slam it back down. They mess it all up! They manhandle the produce."
People, these veggies were raised with love. Treat them like you would your babies. Unless you slam your babies. In which case, get help.
3. "When customers complain that there's dirt on the produce. It's grown in the dirt."
Um, duh. And we're pretty sure you have a sink at home.
2. "When people put stuff on top of the produce, like raw meats. Now my organic produce has raw meat on it."
Again, would you put raw meat on your babies? Plus, look at the beautiful produce in this photo! You don't want to cover up that gorgeous display.
1. "When people complain about the prices for organic produce. That's a big one."
Taste a mealy Mexican tomato from Safeway. Now taste an in-season, ripe, shiny, beautiful tomato from the farmers market. See? (Or, rather, taste?) Don't complain.