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Should people selling at markets at least know what they're selling?

There's a new farmer's market near my apartment and I went to check it out today. There was a guy there selling spices and fancy teas all sitting loose in big bowls. It looked delicious and smelled even better and I couldn't wait to check them out more closely... he had a few spice blends I'd never heard of so I asked him what was in them. His exact answer - 'I haven't got a clue'. Ummmm... great way to inspire consumer confidence! If you're going to sell something exotic to your average consumer, shouldn't you at least be able to tell your them what's in it, and maybe even how to use it? (btw I didn't buy any... we have to be very careful what spice blends we use and the guy wasn't going to be able to tell me if it had peppers in it, or whether it was salt-free.) All in all, very disappointing...

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  1. That's very odd. I usually have the opposite experience at farmer's markets: the vendors are so enthusiastic about their product they go on & on explaining what it is, how it's produced, etc.

    1. Absolutely. Our farmers' market its producers-only, so I would surely hope they know what they are selling. It sounds like your market either allows middle man sales, or this was an employee that wasn't properly trained on their products.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Kontxesi

        It seemed more than a little odd... everyone else was eager to tell me what their ingredients were, to offer tasting samples etc. and this guy didn't even seem to want to be there. Maybe he was just having a bad day... (when I told him I loved za'tar and I was pleased he had it, and asked about the 'other' Turkish spice mix that I've never heard of and can't recall the name of right now, he asked if I'd ever been to Turkey. Ummm... nope. You can like food without being a world traveller.)

        1. re: Kajikit

          sounds like he was filling in for someone. at least he tried to engage you in some kind of conversation. but yes, it's odd.

      2. I just had this experience the last time I went cheese shopping. As much my inexperience as theirs (which I didn't count on being at issue). I didn't realize until I returned with my purchases and started to discuss them on the CH Cheese board that I learned I was misinformed. All the cheese tasted wonderful and I didn't mind the price I budgeted for, I just didn't learn anything. But, now I'm left feeling a bit less able to rely on cheese sellers at this particular shop.

        1. btw, the 'unknown' spice was Turkish Baharat... from looking it up online I can see that it's most likely safe for us to use and it sounds yummy.

          1. maybe the seller was being a little (or a lot) too zealous in keeping his secret spice blends secret? might be worth going back one more time and asking again, at least in terms of "does this contain [spice you need to avoid]?"