Shopping Tips: Farmers Market

April 05, 2011

Shopping at farmers markets allows us to choose from fresh farm picked local produce, SupermarketGuru shares how to get the best deals

Spring is here! And farmers markets across the country are popping up with fresh spring veggies. Shopping at farmers markets allows us to choose from fresh farm picked local produce, to get to know our farmers and where our food is coming from, shop and eat seasonally, and sometimes even score on some great deals! To avoid feeling overwhelmed, unprepared or leave the market with a ton of produce that will end up rotting in your fridge, SupermarketGuru has gathered some great tips for getting the most out of a trip to the farmers market.

Bring cash, and change! Vendors appreciate small bills and having exact change expedites purchases. Some larger markets accept credit cards.

Prepare ahead of time: Bring your own reusable tote bags or backpack for stashing fresh produce. Most vendors have plastic bags, but these are not as sturdy when stuffed with fresh veggies. If you know that you won’t be heading home straight from the market, bring an insulated bag or cooler so that foods won’t spoil in a warm car; if this is the case it’s probably best not to purchase perishables like cheese if you know you’re not heading straight home.

Arrive early and take your time: Early bird shoppers always get the first and best pick, take a lap around the entire market before making any purchases- this way you can scope out the best of the best and also find the best value.

Make a general list, but keep an open mind: plan recipes ahead of time but allow for substitutions- there will be a plethora of produce that you may want to include in your weekly meals, so don’t pass on it just because your recipe calls for another (similar) vegetable.

Don’t assume certified organic: Many farmers market vendors do use traditional organic farming methods, but are not USDA certified. Look for the USDA stamp, get to know your farmer and ask questions. Making connections with the vendors allows you to understand what type of farming they practice, and they might have some great recipe suggestions as well!

So get out there and enjoy the spring!