One of my family’s favorite things to do is attend local farmers markets in the summer. Spending early mornings walking through rows of fresh fruit, veggies, and local artisans is truly blissful. We love supporting markets because they connect communities and empower local businesses. Plus, the abundance of healthy, organic food options make local markets a must for my family!
With many local markets open during the summer months, our post today focuses on the best tips on what to buy at your community Farmers Market. From picking ripe produce, to haggling for prices, we’ve researched the best tips for shopping local.
Money Saving Tips At Your Farmers Market
- Come prepared with a shopping list & reusable bag – Take the time to plan out your farmers market trip beforehand. Having weekly meal plans will help you know what and how much of each produce item to buy. Also, bring a reusable bag! Many vendors don’t stock bag to put purchases in. Plus, you’ll help save the earth by not supporting the production of plastic bags.
- The early bird gets the worm – come early and shop multiple vendors! Want the best pickins’ and selection of produce? You’d better shop early at your local market. By 1 PM, most vendors have already sold out of their best options. It’s also advised to shop multiple vendors before making a purchase. Find out how much a 1 lb bag of cherries costs from different vendors; maybe all of the vendors are similarly priced, and maybe one is a few bucks cheaper.
- Bring cash – Want to get the most bang for your buck? Bring cash with you. While most farmers markets will accept cards on e-readers, each swipe also charges them a vending fee. So, if you bring cash often times the savings are passed on. Having cash also helps you barter easier; try asking something like this while holding out the cash in your hand… “excuse me, would you take $5 for these fresh raspberries instead of $7?” Nine times out of ten, the vendor will take the outstretched cash and agree to the deal. It’s the power of visual money, people!
- Ask questions – Be prepared to ask questions to find the right produce. If buying organic fruits and vegetables is important to you, ask the vendor/farmer whether their farm uses pesticides to grow the produce or not. Remember that In some locations, organic certification is too expensive or bureaucratic for small-scale farmers. Ask them what chemicals they use on their food; you may decide to choose low-spray products that are better priced. Not sure how to cook a certain vegetable (rutabaga’s can be intimidating!) ask the farmer for their advice on adding a certain item to a meal.
- Try something new! – Shopping a local market is like having a plethora of tasty delicacies right at your finger tips. Challenge yourself and your family (this is a great way to introduce kids to new fruits and veggies) to each select 1 new produce item to try. Make it a game – your kids will love it! Each family member gets to pick 1 new item to try with a meal each week. It’ll help your whole fam expand their taste buds.
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