9 Tips for Shopping Your Local Farmers Market

farmer's marketIf you’re tired of shopping at your local grocery store, it may be time head someplace new – like your local farmers market. While farmers markets are known for providing you with quality locally grown produce, they’ve really transformed into a place where you can find all sorts of locally produced products, like honey, meats, eggs, produce and much more. Use these tips the next time you head to the farmers market so that you come home with some delicious stuff.

  1. Don’t Go with a List: When you go to the grocery store, you often shop with a list. A list prevents you from picking up unnecessary items and helps you make sure you have everything you need for your meal plan. But, when you head to the farmers market – forget the list. You never know what you will find at the farmers market. Vendors may vary from week to week. The products that they have available may change from week to week, too. Be flexible with what you want to buy.
  2. Walk the Entire Market First: Because the vendors may change and the items available may change, it’s a good idea to walk the entire farmers market before you start shopping. You’ll be able to see what everyone has to offer and make some choices before you start spending.
  3. Know What’s In Season: It’s always good to know what’s in season locally. This will help you to know what may be grown locally and what vendors may be bringing in to supplement their stand.
  4. Bring Your Own Bags and/or Cart: It’s always a good idea to bring some reusable bags to the farmers market, and even a cart if you plan on buying lots of stuff. Most vendors will have plastic bags, but they are often thin and can’t handle the weight of all of the great produce and items you may be buying.
  5. Bring Small Bills and Change: With lots of people trying to make purchases, it’s important to have small bills and change to pay your vendors at the farmers market. Vendors will appreciate not having to make change for large bills, and exact change makes transactions go even quicker.
  6. Talk to the Farmers and Staff: Do you know who knows the most about the products available at the farmers market? The farmers and their staff, of course! If you want to know what’s in season now and what’s coming up in the next few weeks all you have to do is ask. If you have questions about a new product or how to prepare something – the farmers and their staff can probably help you. Most of the time you will find that the local farmers are extremely friendly and love to share with you about their products.
  7. Shop Early or Shop Late: When it comes to shopping at the farmers market, there are two different types of people: those who shop early and those who shop late. The early shoppers head to the market in hopes of buying the best quality available to them, while the late shoppers hope that they might score a few deals as the vendors are heading home at the end of the day. Decide which shopper you want to be – or just head to the farmers market when it’s convenient for you!
  8. Be Open to Trying New Things: Your local farmers market will have different produce and other items available each week as things come into season. You may even see some things that you don’t recognize. Be open to trying new things. Ask the vendors about their different products and how they would recommend preparing them. You might come away with something new that you just love.
  9. Share with Your Friends: Be sure to tell your friends about your favorite local farmers market – even about your favorite local vendors at the market. This is how you help support your local farmers market and the vendors who come each week.

Now you’re all set to head to the farmers market. Where are your favorite local farmers’ markets? What do you look forward to buying when you go there?

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