In my neck of Tokyo there are still a number of small farms and many sell their vegetables directly to the public. Usually, it's just a small table with the vegetables, a sign, and a money box. The stands are only manned on busy streets or bicycle paths. It's one of my all-time favorite ways to get locally grown vegetables. The price is competitive with the grocery store, and I put the money directly into the hands of the farmer. Not to mention the field where the carrot, broccoli, or daikon came from is visible from where I'm making the purchase. I figure with every yen I give the farmer it gives them a better chance of keeping that land open for production.
The farm stand pictured here is one of my regular stops. It and its farm are on a bike path that runs north of our apartment building, and as the season change I watch the fields turn over and the vegetables rotate. This past winter on nicer days the farmer dried daikon on a rack in the back corner of the field - in long thin strips - that I recently purchased and will begin plopping in different dishes to see how they work. Here I can find any number of vegetables along with a variety of homemade pickles that are the bomb-diggity and make for adventurous eating.
One change this past year was the addition of a vegetable box. Previously, it was only the wooden table with a roof and sides. Now, there is also a metal shed with the locker pictured above inside. A shutter pulls down at night to tuck it away.
Lockers like this seem to becoming more popular in the area, although they must cost a pretty penny. I imagine it makes the stand that much more secure, although I don't believe there's been a recent wave of vegetable stand crime. However, it also means the customer can't easily compare bunches or closely analyze the pickles. And it means that while everything is still just about 100 yen (making the prospect of filling both bicycle baskets nearly irresistible) the shopper MUST have a 100 yen coin on hand. Pop in the coin, turn the handle, and get your vegetable of choice!