It is mid-summer and farmer’s markets are in full swing. The popularity of farmer’s markets has soared over the last decade, thus, increasing the number of markets across the country. If your city does not have a farmer’s market or a fresh market, it is quite possible there is one in a nearby town.
Shopping Tips for Farmer’s Markets
Shopping at your local farmer’s market is a wonderful way to support small businesses and keep your dollars local. There is a strengthened sense of community when you know and support your neighbors in their business ventures. You are also leaving a smaller environmental footprint because less fuel and energy is needed to move the goods.
Despite the increase in popularity, there are still plenty of folks who have not been to their local farmer’s market. In order to strike up interest in both new and seasoned farmer’s market shoppers, we came up with some tips to make your next trip a success.
Tips for Farmer’s Market Shopping
- Ask Questions – Don’t be shy! For most of the vendors, the goods they sell are their livelihood. They are passionate about their products and eager to answer questions. If you don’t know what a sunchoke is (let alone how to cook it) – then ask! Maybe you have wanted to make strawberry jam and the per-quart price seems high for the amount you will need. Ask the vendor if they offer a discount when you buy in bulk. Have you ever wondered where the leftover product goes after the market ends? Some vendors offer discounts towards closing time, so they don’t have to transport everything back to their farm.
- Try Something New – Humans tend to be habitual, and this applies to the food we eat. We can be hesitant to try new things. That’s a real shame. Farmer’s markets are perfect places to diversify our diets as the food is fresh, and we can speak directly to the growers. Some vendors will even give out samples, so you know if you like it before purchasing. This is a wonderful time to try out our first tip by asking several questions about any unfamiliar foods.
- Explore the Whole Market – Even the most seasoned farmer’s market shopper can benefit from this tip. For busy people, it is common to have our itineraries and lists figured out before arriving at the local market. This means we rush around to the usual stands and don’t pay attention to everything else that is available. While this is completely understandable, we may be missing all kinds of great finds. For example, produce is not the only thing found at fresh markets. Local meats, eggs, cheese, wine, bread, popcorn, hand-made soaps and so much more are often for sale. This is a real opportunity to have a local source for a huge chunk of our shopping lists.
- Travel to a New Farmer’s Market – If you find yourself on vacation or a long drive, check out a local farmer’s market along the way. The vendors and goods offered may be totally different than what is available in your town. This provides an awesome opportunity to get a peek into the local flavor. You can meet locals and chat about the area. Perhaps even make a new friend!
We hope these tips have enticed you to get out in the summer sunshine and enjoy a farmer’s market. The farmers and local business owners will personally thank you!
What is your favorite thing to buy from the farmer’s market? Tell our team at Eat, Heal, Travel via our Twitter or Facebook page.