Cupertino’s farmers’ market: Watermelon samples and the art of bargaining


Harini Shyamsundar

Reporting by Harini Shyamsundar. Photos by Harini Shyamsundar and Kristin Chang.

“How much for these?”

“Excuse me! How much for the watermelons?”

A middle-aged couple hovers next to the large barrels of watermelons, peering interestedly over the edge at the large, green contents. The reaction from the nearby vendors is almost instantaneous. It’s as if someone has lit a match; in a flash, the atmosphere blazes to life and anticipation.

“I’m not sure!” chirps the girl behind the samples stand. “One second — Will? Will! We have customers!”

The crowd parts as a tall, brown-haired man makes his way towards the watermelon stand, sporting a brilliant smile. “Good morning! Who wants to buy some watermelons?”

And just like that the couple is put at ease. Smiles are returned, laughs are exchanged, and the watermelon barrel begins to look almost like a comfortable meeting place, as both vendor and customers converse like old friends.


Q&A with Mountain View High School senior Lindsey Arrillaga:IMG_0372

El Estoque: How long have you been working at the samples stand?
Lindsey Arrillaga: This is my fourth week here.
EE: What attracted you to this job?
LA: It’s an amazing place to work, as opposed to sitting behind a desk. I get to be outside all day and talk to people … and it helps that I get a lot of free fruits afterwards.


Q&A with vendor Will Wiersig:

El Estoque: How long have you been working here?
Will Wiersig: Oh, man, I don’t even know. About eight years, now, I think.
EE: And how did you become involved with the Farmers’ Market?
WW: Well, I — everyone in the market, actually — is certified to grow and sell their own produce. And, I just loved the look and feel of this place.

The friendly cluster around the watermelon barrel has loosened slightly. The couple looks finally convinced by the quality of the fruits, as they extract their wallets from within purses and pockets.

“That’ll be two for eight dollars,” Wiersig said. Then, grinning: “But I like you guys, so I’ll give you three for ten.”

Click here or here to read more about the West Coast Farmers’ Market…