Whether you are looking to eat with the seasons
or find ways to support local farmers
, shopping at the community farmers’ market is a great place to start. You may already have some farmers' market favorite finds
, but do you know the best way to shop at the local farmers’ market? Here are ten simple tips to carry with you the next time you peruse the summer produce
at the farmers’ market.
#1 Bring Reusable Bags
Most vendors at the farmers’ market will have plastic bags for you to use, but we are all about being more mindful of our environmental impact. Instead of plastic, opt for reusable grocery bags and produce
bags to haul all of your fresh finds home.
#2 Carry Cash
When navigating the community farmers’ market, carry some cash with you. Although most farmers accept credit cards, it is always best to have cash on hand, just in case credit cards are not accepted.
#3 Come Hungry
Some farmers’ markets offer not only fresh produce, but food stands as well. Fresh fruit smoothies, gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, and homemade baked goods, yum! Grab a friend, go for a stroll, and share a lunch together outside in the summertime sunshine while you pick up your weekly farmers market haul.
#4 Create a Shopping List
No matter if you shop at the community farmers' market or the local grocery store
, making a shopping list is always helpful. Before you go, take an inventory of what food and products you have on hand. Check the freezer
r, and write down everything you need to stock up on. Making a grocery list can make your trip to the farmers' market a lot easier and less stressful.
#5 Go Early or Late
Farmers' markets are less crowded when they first open early in the morning, so if you want the first pick on your favorite pieces of produce, go first thing in the morning. However, if you are looking for a good deal, go shopping towards the end of the day. Some vendors may offer a small discount on their crops at the end of the day so they do not have to repack and haul any leftovers at closing time.
#7 Peruse Purchasing Options
When you first arrive at your community’s farmers’ market, take a lap around the entire market and visit all of the vendors. It’s always a good idea to check out all the stalls so that you can better pick and choose where to buy your items. Pricing and quality can vary from vendor to vendor so if you have the time, peruse before you purchase.
#8 Shop for the Seasons
Learn what produce grows in your region so you know what food is in season. Also, inquire about what is to come in future weeks so you can plan your upcoming trips to the farmers market accordingly. The best person to ask? The farmers themselves.
#9 Get to know the Farmers
Do not be afraid or intimidated to talk to the farmers, they are the experts after all. They usually have the best preparation tips and recipe recommendations
, so start a conversation and see what they have to say. You will never know what you may learn.
#10 Try Something New
Although a grocery list is good to have on hand, do not be afraid to try something different and new. That strange-looking vegetable could turn out to be your new favorite. You will never know unless you try! Still unsure? Ask the farmers!
Looking for a local farmers market near you? Check out the USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory.