It’s almost summer and farmer’s markets are popping up everywhere. They range from large to small, but they all have one thing in common: farmers selling directly to consumers without a middle man. It’s really a win-win situation. Typically farmer’s markets have a great selection of fruits, vegetables, flowers, soaps, breads and other local specialty foods and crafts. I recently visited a farmer’s market and discovered some pretty incredible, hand-made soap.
There are many reasons to visit a local farmer’s market:
- Support your local economy
- Buy produce with little to no packaging
- Buy seasonal fruits and vegetables
- Support local farming
- Buy organic produce and products
On your next visit to your local farmer’s market here are a few tips to help you navigate your experience:
Bring reusable bags
Reusable bags aren’t just for the supermarket. Your local farmer’s market is the perfect venue for reusable bags. According to my friend Beth Terry of My Plastic Free Life there’s no excuse for using single-use plastic bags. If you don’t want to carry the large, supermarket reusable bags try a smaller version that fits into your purse or backpack. You might want to bring an insulated bag to keep items cold.
Get there when they open (or when they’re about to close)
It’s a bit hypocritical that I have this on the list. I’m far from a morning person. However, I do know that farmer’s markets tend to be less crowded when they first open. If you’re an early bird you will also have the best selections available to you. You might score a last minute deal if you head to the market when it’s just about to close down. The farmers might be willing to negotiate a discount so they don’t have to take it home.
Heading to the farmer’s market without a detailed list seems to work best. That will enable you to walk into the market and have the flexibility to choose produce and other items that look fresh and interesting.
Talk to the farmers
One of the highlights of a farmer’s market is the opportunity to talk directly to the farmer about the product you are thinking of buying. This is also your chance to ask how to store the product and how long it will stay fresh. We bought tomato plants last week and the farmer was so excited to share planting tips.
Many of the booths only accept cash so it’s important to be prepared. It’s no fun to find a really amazing product and then realize that you don’t have the cash to purchase it.
Finding a farmer’s market
Another option is to use Local Harvest to find organic food that’s grown closest to you. This site will help find farmers’ markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area.
Do you go to your local farmer’s market? Any tips to share?
Photo Farmer market © Baloncici #5457301
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