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Even though I firmly believe in growing some of your own food, and our family does that with our extensive gardens, when we can’t grow it ourselves the next best thing is to support the local farmers who grow it for us! One of my favorite Saturday pass-times is to visit the local farmers’ market early in the day, with a cup of tea, and an open mind about meals for the week. Farmers’ market season will be here before we know it!
5 Tips for Shopping Your Local Farmers’ Market
- Go early. The closer you arrive to the start of the market the better the selection you will have. Farmers can only bring a limited number of goods with them, so by going at the start you will have a lot more options and can shop the better quality produce.
- Cash is king! Very few farmers’ markets have vendors that accept credit cards. Even with Square being a popular option for small businesses, farms run on a cash business. I have had some farmers’ give a better deal when paying with cash as well, so come prepared.
- Bring your own shopping bags. We have all gotten used to the idea of bringing our own shopping bags to the grocery store, but many people forget to bring them to the farmers’ market. Keep a stack of grocery bags or a basket in the car, and you will always be prepared when you stumble upon a new community farmers’ market.
- Bring your own produce bags. Different farmers have different provisions that they bring with them to the market. I have had times where the vendor I want to shop has run out of produce bags, and by having my own bag I don’t have to worry about how I’m going to contain my goods on the way home. My favorite produce bags come in a set of 9, and are available through Amazon. I received a set for review, but I loved them so much I ordered a second set so that I’d be prepared for farmers’ market season.
- Talk to your farmers. Not sure what an item is or how to prepare it, ask! Want extra produce for canning and preserving – ask! You’ll be amazed by how much you can learn by just having a conversation with the expert, instead of asking Siri or searching on Google.
Our local farmers’ market opens in about 6 weeks, and I’m counting down the weekends! I’m looking forward to visiting my 2 favorite vendors – one who sells artisan cheeses and another that raises mushrooms. I’m a big fan of mushroom risotto, so visiting these two vendors is always at the top of my list.
To find community farmers’ markets in your area, check out Local Harvest.
Great tips! I can’t wait for farmer’s market season!
I love the produce bags you recommended from Amazon! Brilliant idea…. Popping over to order them now! thanks
I have always been curious about shopping at a Farmer’s Market. Thank you for sharing this helpful information!
Stephanie, is this the Wrightstown Pennsylvania Farm market? I absolutely love those bags! I also go to the farm market at the end of their week ( they are open Wednesday through Sunday during the summer, I believe.). I have gotten great deals on bulk organic tomatoes and apples for apple sauce, because the sellers know The food will just be disposed of before the next market day in a half a week. Even though they’re great deals, they are still more expensive than growing your own .
You mean where I shop for mushrooms & cheese? I typically go to the West Windsor Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings at the Princeton Junction Train Station. There is also one at Princeton University on Tuesdays behind Nassau Hall that has the same cheese vendor. They are my 2 favorite markets. I’ve never been to the one in Wrightstown, but I plan on checking them out this year.
Love the bags! Thanks for the info. What a great resource.
Perfect tips! I’ve been planning to make a trip to our local farmers market this weekend.
Perfect timing with this post. Our farmer’s market opens for the season this weekend. I can’t wait!
Go early is a really good tip. I cannot wait for it to warm up here in Wisconsin and I can go to our farmers market for a lot of our food.
These are great tips! I will be sure to remember these the next time we visit our farmers market!
These are great tips. It makes me want to shop at a farmer’s market more often.
Cami @ The Crafting Nook
Getting early is the key definitely!!! You go mid morning and you probably won’t get the same. Also talking to the farmers is awesome. I used to have a favorite one and he would always keep some awesome veggies for me and also gave awesome tips for preparing some vegan dishes!!!!
Victoria @ Creative Home Keeper
Our weekly farmer’s market opens for the season this Saturday and I can’t wait! There is nothing better than fresh produce!
I shop the farmer’s market every day – it’s less than a block from my house. One of the awesome perks of living in Peru.
Alli @ Cupcake Diaries
This is awesome! There is something so wonderful about shopping at a farmer’s market. Love it!
Thanks for the post, Stephanie!
At the West Windsor Community Farmers Market, many of our farms and vendors do accept credit, but we offer our own Market Bucks which we sell at the information tent in $5 denominations. They are treated as cash within the Market at any farm/vendor, and we absorb the fee so the farms don’t have to. We’re not sure that this is the norm within markets, but without an ATM on site, it was our solution to folks who may not have cash with them!
The Market itself also accepts SNAP EBT so that folks who have food assistance can reap the benefits of all the approved food items in addition to the farms that accept WIC FMNP/SFMNP vouchers.
As for the cheese, the farm you referenced vends at our indoor winter markets, not the outdoor season, unfortunately. We’ve got Cherry Grove Farm, Fulper Family Farmstead and Griggstown Farm from May-Thanksgiving.
See you soon; Opening Day is May 7!