Farmers market season is finally here! Farmers markets are great places to purchase fresh produce while interacting with the people who grew it. There are usually multiple booths and tables set up on a street or block. At each booth, one can find anything from baked goods to garden vegetables to jams and jellies. The people behind the booths that are selling the products are the ones who grew and created them – the farmers! There are a few tips that can help when attending a farmers market in order to have the best experience possible. Here are seven great tips for your future farmers market encounters.
The first tip is to ask the farmers about their products! The sellers are there to help you and that is what they enjoy doing. Ask them about the process they went through in order to make a certain pastry. Ask them about the growing season and what’s growing well this year. Ask them to pick out the best looking squash for you to take home with you. This question comes in handy when you don’t exactly know how the fruit or vegetable is supposed to look like or feel like when ripe. The farmers are going to know and be able to pick out the best piece for you. If you want to take home the best watermelon out of the bunch, ask the person who grew it to pick it out to you!
Secondly, it is perfectly normal to bargain on pricing at a place like a farmers market. Although it is very common that the producers are going to give you the best price possible, it’s okay to feel it out. Another way to get the best deal is to bundle items. Grab a few different products and ask for a deal for buying all of them at once. Some sellers are going to be more flexible than others, but you won’t know until you ask!
Thirdly, take advantage of planning meals before coming to the market. Come with a list for certain products that you will want for the upcoming week. It is always easier to shop with a checklist, and this goes for farmers markets as well. The only problem is that there may not always be the same products or venders, so you have to be flexible. These markets can be hard to predict from week to week or month to month. The same product might not always be there. Come with a list and try out new, healthy recipes to try at home!
The next tip is to get out of your comfort zone! You may come across a food that you have never tried before. Take advantage of the cheap prices and try something new. You never know what you will find. It’s a quick google search away from finding a new recipe that includes your newly discovered item. Ask the farmer the best way to eat the new food – cooked, raw, seasoned, etc. Use farmers markets to broaden your horizons.
Before coming to the market, it is important to gather up cash. It is more common to use paper money than a card at events like these. Even though there are now more convenient ways to use cards, you will never go wrong with cash! It is also easy to throw a few extra dollars into a tip jar. Smaller bills are better. Sellers will more than likely be able to give change back, but it is easier for everyone to buy in exact amounts with smaller change.
Bring your own reusable bags for products. This is not only more sustainable, but it makes it easier and more efficient. By the end of the day, you may have purchased items from multiple vendors. You don’t want to have to carry around three plastic bags; each with only a few products. The bags that vendors hand out are most likely going to be cheaper, plastic bags. Might as well bring a bag that you know will withstand all of your goods and that you can use again.
Lastly, think about when you want to go! There are advantages to going both earlier and later. The early bird gets the worm. There is a guaranteed better selection and more of every product the sooner you go. If you know you want something that might run out quick, go early. The later you go means that there is a better chance of getting items cheaper. By the end of the market, some vendors are trying to get products gone. By the time the next farmers market comes around, the foods won’t be good. They will want to hand items out to consumers for a good deal instead of putting them to waste. Products may be half off or buy one – get one. There are advantages to coming early and late – the option is up to you. Check out TheSpruceEats.com for more information on the best time to go and to discover other great tips!
A farmers market is a great place to have interactions straight from farmer to consumer. There is nothing better than seeing and talking to the person that grew or made the products. These markets occur in both big cities and small towns, so take time to find one in your hometown or close by. Use these seven tips to engage in the best farmers market experience!