3-Star Chef in Your Own Home in Food Media & Arts Posted June 20, 2002 I work at a farmers' market stand. We do a large part of our business with restaurants, but we sell the same quality of our main crops to individuals as we do to the restaurants and stores. But for specialty produce, restaurants tend to buy in quantity and also get to the market early. An example was some wonderful organically grown heirloom beets we had at the end of last summer, beautiful greens attached. I put an armful out in a basket and tried to keep it in the shade, but the greens started wilting pretty fast. (Since greens aren't our main crop, we just don't have coolers and ice for display purposes.) Even though the beets were very reasonably priced, no one was buying them. I finally mentioned them to a chef/restaurant owner and she grabbed them all up and came back the next week for more. Another example was chestnuts -- we have a few trees and a small crop each fall. An individual might buy a pound; a restaurant would buy all ten pounds at once. We will hold things aside for customers who make requests in advance and we'll bring, if requested, produce we grow but don't display on the stand. Some farmers will grow specialty crops upon request. Also, get to the market in your area as early as you can. Some farmers take orders or have e-mail sites where you can make ahead-of-time orders. I shop at my market year round and it's frustrating to see large quantities of produce being trundled off to the restaurants and none for me.