Just as the popularity of the fruits and vegetables on sale is growing, so is the shopping experience of the farmers’ market.
Farmers’ markets are essential in the lives of both farmers and consumers. It creates a medium whereby the urban and rural communities come together while enhancing a major growth in the economy and increasing access to fresh and healthy food.
Present in this article are tips to help you make the most of your time in the local farmers’ market. So, if you’re a farmers’-market regular or newbie, and you favor fresh, healthy foods, these 9 tips are not to be overlooked.
1. Look before you buy
Take a walk around the farmers’ market and take notice of what’s available. As changes in season occur, so does the selection. “Don’t let your planned dinner recipe distract you from your shopping experience, rather, be inspired by the taste, smells, and sight around you. Let the ingredients drive your menu and not the other way round.”
2. Make a list
It is important to create a shopping list, so you don’t overstep your budget.
3. Bring cash
A lot of markets and vendors accept debit and credit cards, but more often than not, they prefer to be paid with small-denomination bills.
4. Bring your own bags
Few farmers’ markets give out only flimsy plastic bag, if they give them out at all, it is advisable to bring your own reusable bags. This helps the environment by reducing the use of plastic. It also allows vendors to save money.
5. Go early or go late
Visiting a market when it first opens for the day or when it’s about to shut down allows you to purchase the best item (early) and to possibly score a deal (late). If you arrive early, you are more likely to pick up prized items like first–of–the–season asparagus. If you arrive late, you might find some vendors giving off their items for as much as 50% discount.
6. Buy in bulk
When you buy fruits and vegetables in bulk, you can be offered a discount on the items. So be sure to inquire.
7. Mingle with other shoppers
Try to strike up a conversation with other shoppers, as the built-in camaraderie gives you ample opportunity to learn new things and develop friendships.
8. Be inquisitive
Take time to ask questions about things like GMOs, farming practices, and organic foods. If you’re smart enough, you could squeeze out recipes and cooking ideas from the vendors.
9. Make connections
If you get familiar with the vendors, you might be rewarded with regular discounts – but you’ll definitely have a more unique experience. Chat with your farmers, introduce yourself, and tell them about your unique background, and why you’ll love to get fresh produce.