Do you have a great Farmer’s Market near your home? If so, it is the season to not only take advantage of the bounty of fresh produce but to introduce your family to a great new experience. A Farmer’s Market is a great place to save your family some money on their grocery bill while adding some healthier habits. I’ve been to my fair share of Farmer’s Market, and I love the hustle and bustle of the market. The smell of fresh flowers, veggies and other homemade products wafting through the air brings me great comfort. We love visiting for not just fresh produce, but flowers, fresh local eggs, and even some handmade products like candles and preserves. Our tips for helping you to navigate and make the most of your Farmer’s Market experience come from years of enjoying the ones local to our family.
Ways To Make The Most Of Your Farmer’s Market
Set a budget before you arrive. A farmer’s market is a great place to get better prices on fresh fruits and vegetables, but it can also be a financial trap. You’ll find so many great foods you will quickly find yourself spending outside your grocery budget just to try fresh new things. It is really important to set your budget before you arrive.
It’s best to have CASH, however since most of our local markets accept credit cards now, it can be a lot easier to splurge. I stop at the ATM on the way to the farmer’s market and take out only what I can afford to spend that day. When it is gone – I won’t buy anything else. This helps me to stay in budget and makes it a bit faster to handle transactions on busy mornings.
Arrive early in the day. For the freshest products and the largest variety, you want to be there when the farmer’s market opens. If you happen to live close to one that also has a fish market, you are in luck since these will be fresh catches of the day still on ice! When you get there early in the morning, you can take your time to look over everything before you go back to individual vendors to make your purchases. This gives you the best options for fresh and quality foods.
Saturday morning markets are often the busiest, but it is well worth it to get up earlier on your day off to grab the best items at your farmer’s market than to wait later in the day and find they have sold out. One thing D and I love to do is get up early on a Saturday morning and hit one market after another. We eat fresh veggies and fruits (99.9% fresh veggies all the time or when they are in season), so it’s important to us to use our local resources to help our family eat healthily. Of course, we have our garden too, but we love to see what other items we can grab at our local Farmer’s Market.
Make a list before you arrive. If you are trying to stay in budget, it is important to go ahead and make that list, so you don’t spend too much. You may also want to consider what is on your menu plan and know that a lot of what you see will still be available again the next week. Don’t get too carried away trying to buy everything you see. Make note of other items you want to try and where you saw them. That way you can go back the next week and pick up those items early in the day.
On your list, make sure to include your favorite grocery store competitive pricing. This will keep you from getting outside your budget if you know locally grown items are also being sold in a local grocery store you frequent. I love supporting local businesses, and a farmer’s market is the best way to this, but I still have to stick within a budget.
Get to know your vendors. This is really important if you want to know the quality and what to expect week to week. Take the time to get to know your vendors by talking to them, asking for their business card, or even following them on social media. There are many vendors who will work out deals with you when you become a regular customer. Especially if you want to order large quantities of something for a party, event, or even to do home canning or freezing.
This also helps you to learn more about the quality and origin of what you are buying. Many farmer’s markets have people who sell items they have purchased wholesale somewhere else. Ideally, you want to purchase from vendors that grow or make the items themselves. This is where the best prices and quality come from. By getting to know your vendors you can make sure you are getting the best deals and quality for your family.
Bargain at the end of the day. Most farmer’s markets are open only on select hours of select days. Toward the end of the day, they will begin trying to sell off excess produce. This makes it much easier to get a good deal on something at the last-minute. You do have to keep in mind that you may not have the pick of the best produce available if you do this. However, there are tons of great deals to be had when you wait until the end of the day to bargain shop for what is left in a vendor booth.
What are some of your favorite things when visiting a Farmer’s Market? Hopefully these tips for how to make the most of your farmer’s market are easy to use. Next time you head out to a great day of shopping at the farmer’s market, keep in mind our tips for getting the best deals for your family.