Afraid of the Farmers Market


My name is Kim Etzel, and I am afraid of the farmers market.

It’s unfamiliar. Outside my comfort zone. It makes me anxious.

I feel like I’m supposed to shop at the market because everyone else in town shops there. And I feel left out. I’ve been doing research lately on the importance of buying local produce (which I’d be happy to go into some other time). Plus I have this feeling that seeing all the beautiful fruits and veggie laid out on the tables will get me more excited to eat healthy.

Several times I have asked knowledgable friends to go with me, but they laugh and say “what’s the big deal?” No one laughs at a fear of the dentist, or the gym, or the shady gas station. But apparently market phobia is funny.

Now for today’s entertainment, I give you The Top 10 Reasons why I am afraid of the farmers market:

10. I’d have to get cash.

9. I’d have to bring my own bag. 

8. I’d have to peel my own carrots.
Seriously. I think my peeler is in the closet with the tortilla maker and the coffee grinder.


7. I am afraid of looking stupid.
This is a fear in all aspects of my life, but specifically when I’m in a new situation.

6. I am afraid of bartering.
I was in Mexico a few years ago and I had to barter with the merchant for a bag I liked. I was so timid that I probably overpaid for the souvenir.

5. I am afraid of socializing. 
People go to the market to see their friends and I’m like GTFO of my way.

4. What if the farmer doesn’t speak English?

3. What if I buy too much and it spoils before I have a chance to use it?

2. What if I buy something and it tastes bad?

and the number one reason I am a scaredy cat is….


1. I am afraid of turning into a hippie. 

Well this story has a happy ending, folks! Today was a beautiful day and I decided to bite the bullet and face my fear at the Castro Farmers Market. First steps: I got a reusable bag from home and I went to the ATM. Okay that wasn’t so bad.

Then, I walked to the market. Easy peasy (and the added bonus of exercise)!

Next, I bought a lemonade, found a bench, and just watched for a minute. I saw people talking to the farmers and cashiers and asking questions. “What is this?” “How to I prepare that?” I watched them find the secret stash of plastic containers to fill with little tomatoes or blackberries. This all made my confidence grow.

I got up and walked down the passageway. A man pushed a slice of peach on a stick in my face and said “Free sample?”. Yes please! I munched on a juicy peach and decided I was kinda having fun. Then I ate a free sample of fig, and a sample of apricot.


I walked into a tent and recognized several of the vegetables on the counter. Celery, broccoli, green beans… (oh my!). These things are comfortable to me. I reached under the table and got a little plastic container like I saw people doing before. I filled it with green beans and weighed it. One half pound! Just the right amount.

I took my beans and also some broccoli to the cashier. He weighed them and said “three dollars”. No haggling. No gimmicks. Just $3. What a huge relief! At this point I felt pretty proud of myself. I bought some tiny tomatoes from a vendor on the corner. And I got carrots and peppers from the stand next to the crazy guitar singer.


I am very pleased with my adventure to the Castro Farmers Market today! It wasn’t so scary after all. And look! I got all this for only $7.75! (and those red and yellow tomatoes are little bites of heaven). Maybe these California hippies have the right idea.

The Castro Farmer’s Market is open Wednesdays, during Mar – Dec, from 4-8pm. It sets up at the corner of Market and Noe St. 


Here’s are several sites that list of all the farmer’s markets in town. I bet you can find one that’s close to home, and fits into your schedule. 



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