The Honor System

We  sell apples  on the honor system.

When I mentioned this on face book last weekend,Amy said the only time she’d ever seen  anything like that was  in France….she could buy goat cheese from a local farmer on the honor system.

Last weekend we did over $200.00 business at our roadside stand with nobody manning the cash register   but a chicken. 

You don’t believe me?  Here’s his picture:

When I told two of our neighbors (and a few others) what I had in mind, they all looked at me like I was crazy-  “Aren’t you afraid someone is going to steal your apples, or take your money?

“No, I replied.  I’m not…and what if someone makes off with $20.00 or, God forbid a cooler with apples in it, then so what?  If they need it that bad, then let them have it….”

“Well you’re at least going to put a lock on the money-box right?


Cause here’s the deal,  sure there are some “bad apples”  out there, but I’m convinced the majority of people are not

I even have some evidence to the contrary.

My brother, sold asparagus last year, doing basically the same thing on a smaller scale-  He had a cooler with asparagus in it, and a coffee can inside…He told me that more often than not, there was actually more money in the pot @ the end of the day than there should have been…

And then today, someone told my wife @ her  workshop, she’d heard Panera’s Bread was doing something very similar in one of their stores . …and they are thinking about expanding it to other areas.

I’m a contractor and experience this level of trust all the time-  Just this Summer, someone asked me to oversee the construction of their 4500 sq ft addition on his house.  Here’s what he told me:

Doug, I’m busy farming  and to be honest, I don’t know that much about construction. What I would like you to do, is take the ball and run with it.  I trust you.   that’s how I’d like this project to go.”

Now, let me ask you a question-  when someone entrusts you with that much responsibility and thousands of dollars of their hard-earned money-  are you  going to take advantage of that?

 Heck no-  that is the ultimate compliment.

Most of us would do everything in our  power to live up to that trust.

I look @ this self-serve apple stand in the same way.  I’m offering  fresh, beautiful locally grown  Iowa apples at wholesale cost.

I think most people love to be treated that way.

Here’s a few apple pictures to give you an idea of what I’m talking about:

Picture of our 2009 Gala’s

Picture of our Ginger Gold’s

Picture of our Honeycrisp’s

     Ever seen the movie Pay It Forward?

This is one small way for me to light my candle and change the world.

Have a great day…

and how many apples did you say you wanted ? ;-)


If you’ve been  a reader to the blog for a few years, you may have seen this one a couple of years ago. DM

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About DM

sitting on my grandpa's farm porch with Feedie
This entry was posted in apple orchard, enjoying life, faith, orchard, spirituality, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Honor System

  1. SaraC says:

    There used to be a fruit stand out my way that ran on the honor system, but it isn’t around anymore – I suspect because the farmer, no doubt an old school believer in humanity, either retired or passed away. I miss it. So happy to know you are keeping the practice alive! Gorgeous apples, too.
    Thanks Sara!. Say, just had an idea…is there anything you could sell on a self-serve stand?…just to keep the love flowing since that old dude retired. ;-) DM

  2. emjayandthem says:

    Honeycrisps are probably my favorite food of fall!

    I love the honor system and am not surprised that you are honoring it by keeping it going.

    Thank you for your kind words earlier, by the way.
    You’re welcome MJ DM

  3. koneillbrown says:

    Here in UK the honour system is pretty common practice, particularly in rural areas. You can drive round the country lanes and come upon a stall selling free-range eggs, for example, in the middle of nowhere, or others selling fruit and vegetables, there is even one selling whatever flowers are currently in season on a pretty major road with no one overseeing the cash box. I think it is lovely and it restores ones faith in humanity to see such trust. I think most people are pretty decent, and as you say, if they are desperate enough to steal a few eggs or veggies, then on some levels, you have to feel a bit sorry for them. They are either very needy or very greedy.
    Your apples look gorgeous, by the way!
    Good morning Karen. We have friends in the UK. IF we ever make the trip over the waters, then traveling the countryside stopping @ those self serve stands will certainly be on my short list of places to visit. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment! DM

  4. Lis says:

    <3 your chicken! And if I lived closer, I'd be at your stand buying apples on a regular. Yum!

  5. shoreacres says:

    I’ve been trying to remember the last time I saw such a thing. It does happen on back Texas roads, but not at all in the city. I suspect part of the reason is that country people know what kind of effort went into growing the apples or asparagus – or baking the bread or pies.

    There is a restaurant close to me that has monthly dinners to benefit a homeless shelter. They cook and serve, and ask people just to give whatever they think is fair. They always cover their costs and still have hundreds of dollars to contribute to the shelter. I do think people enjoy having an opportunity to give from generosity rather than guilt.

  6. john says:

    I have an apple orchard in Maine that depends on an honor system that has been successfully used for over 20 years. I have come home to over $300 stuffed into my coffee can cash register and on very very very rare occasions less than I started with. So I have lots of faith in humanity – people really seem to appreciate it.
    thanks John, Loved hearing your story! DM

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