How to Farmer's Market! We talk a lot about how great these markets are for finding local food, but how do you go about actually shopping while you're there?
Well, if I'm honest, I had no idea how to until a few days ago, but here are some tips I learned, so hopefully, they can help you too!
First! Learn about the season. Knowing what fruits and vegetables are in season will help you understand what to expect once you get to the market. It will also help you construct a list, so you're not just wandering around the stalls (something I struggle not to do).
Second! Bring bags and bills. Bringing bags from home will not only help the earth by recycling, but it will also just help you carry more. There have been so many times I've gone to the market for one thing, and I have to balance the six other things I picked up on the way, so a bag has been very beneficial. Bills, on the other hand, are more convenient for your vendors. Some stalls will not accept credit cards, so you should bring cash and change with you so you don't miss out on anything!
Third! Talk to the vendors! No one knows more about the products than the person who personally made them, and yes, they want to speak to you about them. So, for my people who don't like talking to strangers, here are some sample questions!
Where is your farm located/did you grow this?
What are your growing practices?
Which of your products would you recommend?
How do you control pests?
There are a million other things you can ask, but hopefully, this gets the ball rolling!
Lastly, pick the best time for you! There are perks to going at the beginning of the market versus the end of the market, but it is really what is best for you. Early on in the market, it will be less busy, so you would be able to talk to the farmers more one-on-one, but later in the market, it is possible to snag some good deals before the sellers start to pack up. Me, not being the biggest morning person, will go later in the morning to be fully prepared, but my friends love going as soon as it opens to talk to farmers.
Farmer's Markets are such a great opportunity in towns, and we should be taking advantage of them. I hope these tips are valuable and will encourage you to go get out and talk to some of our vendors tomorrow morning! See you there!