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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.