June 4th, 2012

5 Tips for Your Visit to the Farmer’s Market

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Groovy Green Livin Organic Farmer's Market

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.

Be flexible

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.

Bring cash

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

No worries if you’re not sure how to find a local farmer’s market-there’s an app for that! Use your smart phone or iPad to help locate the closest market to you.

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

Linked up with Natural Mothers Network

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8 Responses to “5 Tips for Your Visit to the Farmer’s Market”

  1. Our farmers market opens in 2 weeks. Can’t wait! Lots of farmers now have websites and/or facebook pages. Often they will list what they are bringing and often give recipe suggestions using what they have in season. I am notorious for buying something that looks great, figuring I’ll think of something to do with. Then it sits there and rots! I love the recipes and suggestions.

  2. Thanks for the great suggestion Kristina. Checking out the farmers site before heading to the market might help answer some questions. I do the same thing-buy things on a whim and they end up hanging in the fridge for way too long.

  3. Great list! I have a tip: if there aren’t any markets near where you live for a nice Saturday morning trip, try finding one near where you work. I used to work at a hospital in a busy part of town, and they eventually started a market there on Tuesdays between 10 am and 2 pm, which was perfect.

  4. Hi Andrea! Glad you liked the list. Thanks for the great tip. Sometimes it’s hard to find a local farmer’s market. Finding one near your office is a great idea.

  5. Also, if you go fairly regularly (we try to go every Saturday to our market), the farmers start to recognize you. My husband’s family has been going to the market for years and now the farmers are starting to recognize our little 3-some. Now when they see us coming they recommend new fruits and vegetables for our son but also will let us know how our regular buys are doing (i.e. they are heading out of season or we should be seeing them soon, etc.). I’ve learned more about cooking and food from the farmers than anyone else!

  6. Great point Paola. It’s just all around nice to establish that type of relationship with local businesses and farmers.

  7. My tip is: don’t just take reusable grocery bags, take nice ziplocks so you can put your produce right in them, avoid taking home berry baskets, make sure things don’t leak juice. I wash and reuse them multiple times – I even have a set of hooks in my kitchen where they all hang drying like a big school of plastic fish or something.

  8. Thanks for the tips Suebob. I like the suggestion to leave the berry baskets at the store. Does the fruit get squished on the way home?

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney, mom of three and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. I hope you'll join me as I embark on a journey to live a healthy life. Along the way I might make a few pit stops to fight for issues that affect the health and safety of our families. Come along with me as I work hard to make the world a little safer for each of us. Together we'll discover that simple, small changes can lead to a healthier lifestyle and a greener planet.

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