Ever since I was little my Mom and I would go out in town and visit the farmer’s market. From produce to baked goods and even pottery, the smells and live music always captivated me.
I think one of my best memories came from the time I was around six or seven. It had rained the day before and was slightly drizzling that morning—yet the tents and noise
Throughout the years, however, I’ve picked up on a few tricks that a few of my friends and family were surprisingly unaware of. This, I must note, was primarily because they were not familiar with farmer’s markets in general or simply lacked the experience. That’s why I have created a list of 10 farmer’s market tips any shopper should keep in mind while scouting the best produce.
1. Waltz around the farmer’s market at least once before making any purchases
I can tell you countless times when I’ve come across produce that were at least 40-50% less than the ones stationed at the very front of the market. That’s why it’s important to do at least one round before bringing out your wallet. It’s also good to practice this so you get an overall feel of the area.
Like the vibe? Come back next weekend. Don’t prefer it as much as the one downtown? Maybe go ahead and skip it. At least you went!
Getting Celery at the market?
You are in for some awesome perks…
2. Bring cash, not your credit card
Despite having noticed a change in how my local farmer’s market prefers to conduct their transactions, it’s still important to bring cash. This is because not everyone is as tech savvy as that guy with the man bun who sells succulents. Another thing? A credit card is really not that necessary because in most cases you won’t spend more than $100.
3. Have your grocery list already in mind
This is just as important as the previous. Wandering around and window-shopping is fine—and can even be fun! But if you’re one of those people who just want to buy a few things and get out, it’s probably best to create a checklist.
Rosemary, parsley, tomatoes, eggs, bread—check!
n’t be afraid to ask for samples
The greatest thing about farmer’s markets is the fact that many vendors will already be standing at the front of their tent and asking you to try their food. However, if this isn’t the case, don’t be hesitant to ask if you can try that organic apple.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions in general
Unlike the grocery store, when you’re at the farmer’s market you’re actually meeting the people who have grown most of these fruits and vegetables. Therefore it wouldn’t hurt to ask them how something tastes or even the history of the produce itself. ‘’When are these in season?’’ or ‘’How long have you been growing for?’’ are great questions to start friendships with vendors and even score a few discounts in the long run.
6. Bring a bag with you
Stop wasting plastic! Seriously. Reusable bags and pushcarts are not only spacious but also good for the environment. Most reusable bags can be found at the front of your local grocery store near the checkout aisle. However if you’re looking for affordable pushcarts you can also check out Amazon.
7. Go early, but not too early
If you arrive at the farmer’s market too early there won’t be as many farmers. Vendors are still setting up shop—and some haven’t even arrived yet. So if you’re someone who is really looking to shop before the real crowds arrive, it would probably be best to pull up about 30 minutes to an hour after they initially open.
Tip: Type the farmer’s market on Google followed by ‘’hours.’’ This is the most practical way to locate credible information regarding time and availability.
Ever made your own Hummus?
Maybe you should give it a try, we’ll help…
8. Hang out for a while
Contrary to some of the previous points that may favor the idea of ‘’getting in and getting out’’ it can also be fun to just kick back and relax at the farmer’s market. Most of the time there will be chairs and even picnic tables stationed in or around the area. So those tamales or Asian food you’re craving can be enjoyed on the spot! And did I mention the live music?
9. Come with and without expectations
Farmer’s markets surprisingly never fail to sometimes disappoint. That tangy guava or craftsman you saw last week may not be there the following weekend. This is why it’s important to come without expectations. From personal experience, I can tell you that almost every trip to the farmer’s market was different from the last. Whether it was the crowd, vendors, or overall experience, sometimes you just have to accept what’s there and be grateful.
10. Be kind to the vendors!
This is important above anything else. Many vendors already have a hard time getting by—and what they make each weekend is not only low but requires a lot of hard work. So be respectful, say thank you, and wish them a good day as well.