What to Expect as a Buyer: Building Vendor Relationships that Last

Expect quality

Locally grown farm goods should meet or exceed your quality standards. But the word “quality” doesn’t always mean the same thing to everyone. Know what’s important to you. Is it freshness? Uniformity? Flavor? Visual perfection? Ripeness? Storage quality? All of the above? Make your standards clear and stop purchasing what doesn’t work for you.


If the product meets expectations, buy what you say you will buy, and buy consistently while a product is in season.

Maintain communication

Establish a predictable routine for phone calls, orders, and questions. Give as much advance notice of what you need as you can. Request varieties you’re interested in. Give feedback. One great thing about local farmers is that, if you establish steady buying patterns, they may adapt their growing practices to meet your needs.


Do expect to pay a full, fair price . Don’t expect local farms to be a source for bargain-hunting.

Think seasonally

Use what is fresh and in season. Your customers will appreciate it.

Cultivate trust

Remain flexible and patient, but honest. Remember that it’s all about the relationship.


Establish a system and follow through. Most farmers like to be paid either COD or in seven days.


Continue to learn about products that are available. Inspire your co-workers/staff to do the same. Visit the farm if you can, or visit the tailgate markets.