From the article: 10 Farmers Market Shopping Tips
Do you prefer to head to the market early for the best selection or late for the best deals? Do you bring specific bags that are useful? Do you show up with a list or just buy what catches your eye? Whatever your favorite tip for making the most of shopping at the farmers market, share it here (and get ideas from other Local Foods readers). What's Your Tip?
how to choose the vendor
- My Farmers Market is small - only 2 blocks long - so I walk the entire thing noting who has what for sale, price, and condition. Then I know who to buy what from and can more quickly make my purchases.
Use Fresh Veggies on Pizza
- Although we live in the city (Fredericton, New Brunswick), we have built a small raised bed at the side of our house. We planted arugula, tomatoes, various hot peppers, and some herbs. We've been eating from the arugula for almost a month now and our tomato plants have fruit starting. Luckily, our grandfather and father have planted a garden so there should be no shortage of fresh produce. As you know, we are also blessed to have a great farmers market here in Fredericton, so we try to buy local as often as we can. We are not perfect, but every little bit helps. Have you tried homemade pizza with fresh veggies and local cheese?
- —Guest PSnuwsuyHCPy
- Hi, I help to run a Farmers Market and as Brigette said, don't expect to get a lower price at the end of the day. Here in the south, there are a lot of Farmers Markets, and the produce will hold over for at least a few days. I can foresee a crowd of people showing up near closing trying to get a deal...that is NOT what a Farmers Market is about. It is about eating fresh, local produce, making new friends, and meeting those who grew it.
- —Guest Kevin
Don't assume end of day discounts
- As a farmers market vendor and manager, the notion that produce is discounted at the end of the day can be misleading. In our area of SW Michigan a vendor will do a morning market followed by a afternoon or evening market on the same day and avoid the need to dump produce at reduced prices. Many markets have rules which forbid dumping at the end of the day.
- —Guest Brigette Leach
- Be careful when buying bagged or otherwise pre-packed produce. I thought it was convenient when apples were packaged in plastic bags sitting in 1/3 bushel baskets. Convenient to pick up but not so great when you get home to find that all the lower apples in the bag were smallest and worst.
- —Guest crackdc
End of Season? Stock up and Preserve!
- When your favorite crop is nearing the end of the season, stock up on it and preserve it. It is always sad to see tomato season, for example, come to a close, but as it does buy as many as you can to make sauces or simply to freeze. Local food that is properly frozen tastes much better than food treated to travel well out of season. Imagine thawing your fresh tomatoes for a salsa or sauce in the middle of a New England winter....it's a real treat! Talk to your farmers, find out what they are about to run out of and buy them out! You will be happy you did!
- —Guest Local In Season
repurposing clamshell containers
- 1. Save clamshell containers and use them at farmers markets to transport delicate produce like cherry tomatoes and berries. 2. Arrive early for the best selection or late for the best prices. 3. If you have a favorite farmer at your market, ask them where else they sell and what his/her favorite market is and visit them there! 4. Bigger isn't always better. Smaller markets often have better prices and lighter crowds.
Get to know the farmers
- What has really made the farmers' market pay off for me is getting to know the farmers and what their best items are. If I can make a beeline for a particular stall that has the best asparagus or my favorite peaches, it makes the market-going a lot more efficient and I get better stuff. Also, taking the time to chat with the farmers and ask about their produce yields tips on when to watch out for rare specialty items or how to cook them to best advantage. (Plus, if you *really* make friends with the farmers, they may throw a few extra items in your bag for free!)
- —Guest Kate