observed by Diane » photo journal for those who enjoy vignettes of an ordinary life

The Honour System

In the town where I live there is a plethora of farms or acreages in the area, some are even within town limits. Many of the owners sell their produce at this time of year, though most do it through one of the local farmer’s markets. I drive past this little stand every time I head ‘downtown’.

The stand sits along the main road leading into town and along the Island Highway. There is a gate across the driveway but a home and acreage are partially visible through the trees though they definitely do not have clear sight of their stand.

When I stopped there a day ago, I picked up a container of their blueberries (these are all things they grow inside on their acreage; they are not re-sellers) as well as one of their spaghetti squash. There were also at least a half dozen containers of golden plums and a few bags of fresh picked apples, a few bunches of carrots, bunches of beets, and a few zucchini. I went back today to get more of their blueberries — they were so excellent and full of flavour (and we ate them all in one day) that I wanted to get more plus I thought I may buy some of the plums.

As with some of the other farmers in the area who sell eggs at their gate, this lady sells her produce on the honour system. It’s a code really, where the person relies on members of the community to be honest and to leave payment in a little box intended for that purpose. It’s a simple act of expecting people to do the honorable thing. Some of the farmers who sell eggs in this way, leave a cooler of eggs at the end of their driveway and often have a little plastic margarine tub for a person to open and leave the appropriate amount of money inside. I love that I live in a community where the honour system is alive and well — and people do the honorable thing.

In less than 24 hours, all the plums were sold, plus the carrots, and all but one of the containers of blueberries. I came home with that one container of blueberries and a bunch of beets. We had the beets roasted this evening with dinner and will be enjoying what’s left of the blueberries (because I can’t help but nibble on them) in blueberry pancakes in the morning.

“It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; …” ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

Do you have a similar situation where you live? If so, leave a link in the comments so I can come take a look.

All photographs on this site are the exclusive Copyright © Diane M. Schuller. All Rights Reserved. Permission directly from Diane is required should you wish to copy or use a photo for any purpose. Thank you for doing the right thing.

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dinahmow - August 21, 2012 - 10:32 pm

Our former home was in a major avocado area and several growers would put out “seconds” (usually just smaller than what they would send to market)on an honesty stand.A grower once swapped me some avocados for fresh honey!
And some of us are having a blog discussion of old fashioned shops and I did mention honour systems; we used to leave coins out for the milkman, though persistent theft led to tokens being introduced!

leaca - August 21, 2012 - 10:48 pm

I have heard about these stands. Good for them but I would worry about someone stealing the money after I left it.

Don - August 22, 2012 - 8:55 am

A fine series presenting a very interesting idea and situation. I’m glad there is some place in the world where honesty exists and people are fundamentally doing the right thing.

Cicerosings - August 22, 2012 - 6:13 pm

Down out at the coast, when you drive out in the country, you can see these stands with the honour system … for peppers and flowers usually. Up here … there is simply not enough traffic on any given road to support such an effort. We hardly have that many people at our little farmer’s market.

I guess they figure, if someone steals it … maybe they needed it! In Old Testament times, they were to leave some of their crops in the field for gleaning for the poor and for strangers.

Gabriele - August 23, 2012 - 5:03 am

We have farm stands aplenty. The honor system seems to work because they are there year after year. Nothing beats a fresh dozen eggs, even if they are $6.

Candace - August 23, 2012 - 8:13 pm

Nope, not here in urban Phoenix. I do find it interesting that at some of the state parks up north, they have the honor system where you pay to go in the park and it sure looks like a lot of people do it.

Pretty photos.

sherri - August 24, 2012 - 6:45 am

i wanna move there….did you hear the whine in that?:-)

Michele Jack - September 3, 2012 - 10:28 am

This stand belongs to the Virgins who happen to be Elsa’s next host family. Small town. Your blog is sweet.