Tips for Shopping at Your Local Farmer’s Market

If you are fortunate enough to have a thriving farmer’s market close to you, it is a great way to keep your family in fresh food all through the growing season and beyond.

Shopping at your local farmer’s market not only ensures you have a healthy and fresh food supply, but also that you support your local community.

Without support, local farmers struggle to compete with massive agribusinesses that swallow up more farmland each day across our country and make it more and more difficult for the small farmer to survive.

Here are a few tips to make your trip to the farmer’s market the best it can be.

Get there early – If you show up to a farmers market early, you will have the best selection of goods and it will be less crowded.

Get there late – Go to your local farmer’s market just as they are about to close for the greatest deals. Farmers will be ready to go home and want to sell all their products, so you will most likely get a deal.

Bring big bags – Make sure you bring enough bags for the things on your list, and then some. You do not want to be carrying an armload of produce and dropping it everywhere, and not all vendors provide bags.

Bring small change – While most farmers will be able to give you change, it is easier on them and quicker for you if you bring small bills. Try to buy enough from each vendor to make your change exact.

Plan your meals – Plan your meals out for a week or two and make a list of the produce you will need. This way you will know what you are looking for and won’t buy too much or too little.

farmers marketTry to plan seasonally – Find out what crops grow best in your area each season to plan your meals accordingly. This way, you won’t be disappointed if you were looking for a certain thing but it was out of season.

Also, you will be able to tell if the farmers are truly growing food locally, or having it shipped in. However, some farmers have greenhouses, allowing them to grow out-of-season crops. Be sure to ask all vendors about the origin of their products.

Buy in bulk – You will get the best deals if you buy lots of a certain item instead of just one or two. Preserve food by drying, freezing and canning if you can’t eat it all.

Ask for tips – If you are not sure what a particular item is or how to prepare it, ask the vendor. Most farmers are glad to explain how things are grown, and how to eat them as well.

Make sure it is GMO and pesticide free – Be sure you ask where the food has come from and whether or not it is pesticide and GMO-free.

-The Alternative Daily

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