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Do You Shop at the Farmers, Farmer’s or Farmers’ Market?

I admit this one stumps me. What is the correct usage to describe the kind of market that usually opens one or two days a week for several hours and usually features produce and other items grown on farms?

I’ve seen it every which way: Farmers Market, Farmer’s Market and Farmers’ Market. Capitalized and lower-cased. Everyone names it one of these three ways, but nowhere can I find a usage guide.

I checked the dictionary. Nothing. I checked Nothing. I searched each separately, and I got the various farmers/farmer’s/farmers’ markets.

So, I’ll explain what each means. Maybe I’ll find the answer there.

A farmers market refers to a market of farmers. This literally means you can go and buy a farmer.

I don’t think that’s it.

farmer’s market means one farmer owns this market and is selling his products/food/livestock/whatever he’s selling.

Usually, there’s more than one farmer, so I don’t think this is it.

A farmers’ market means many farmers own the market and they’re selling their stuff there. I think this one is most correct, and Wikipedia lists this as correct. But Wikipedia’s accuracy is suspect, and the markets I see are usually on non-farm property, so I would need proof that these farmers own the market.

Then again, maybe they don’t need to own the land on which sits the market. Maybe they just have to be there selling.

But here’s another twist: Many of the people selling probably aren’t farmers. That’s an entirely different problem.

And I can’t find a definitive answer online.

Does this mean all are correct? I don’t think so. Maybe we ought to rid ourselves of the name and call it what it is: produce market.

Until next time! Use the right words!


August 23, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Produce market doesn’t work either. Most of these markets also have at least one or two bakers, fresh popped kettle corn (a real stretch to call that produce). And some sell flowers or yarn or cheeses, or homemade sausages. I go with Farrmers’ Market, but most often I see it written without the possessive apostrophe at all. Go figure. So many people just want to communicate today, and don’t give a hoot if what they sat or write is grammatically correct.

    Having gone to over 16 years of Catholic school, most of those taught by nuns… Bad grammar really grates on my nerves, and screams that that person either didn’t get a good education or certainly didn’t pay enough attention to benefit from it.


    Comment by Anne Davies | August 23, 2013 | Reply

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