Below are seven tips to make the most of your trip to the farmers market.
1. Know what is coming available.
By following the Facebook groups of your farmers market and your favorite farmers, you will be aware of upcoming produce and products. This is also a great way to ask questions when the vendors are not busy.
2. Come prepared with a shopping cart, bags, small bills, and weather appropriate clothes.
I love my folding shopping cart that allows me to buy and not have to carry purchases that may impede my further shopping. In addition, please, bring small bills! Farmers are not ATMs and odds are there is not an ATM within walking distance.
3. This is not the place to haggle.
In general, we understand that you are looking for a deal, and there are many!
This is a farmers market, not a flea market.
The vendors here have a lot of sweat equity in the items for sale. Many have been up most of the night to bring them to you fresh and properly ripe.
Stroll through the market before you buy to see what is in season, new, and fresh.
4. Make sure your dogs and children are supervised and happy.
The farmers and other vendors have animals and children, but when yours are unsupervised, it can cause harm to the children, the vendor’s merchandise, and your overall experience.
If you are bringing out the family, stake out a picnic table, let the kids play while one of you watches and the other shops. Enjoy the live music, a cold drink, and make it a leisurely fun family day for all.
5. Be gentle with the produce.
Produce brought to the farmers market isn’t like the produce at the grocery.
When picked from a local farm it’s ready to eat. When you give it the same squeeze that you give at the grocery, that produce will bruise and be unappetizing by the end of the day. Ask the farmer if you are not sure of the shelf life of produce.
To know that the fruit is ripe, smell it close to the stem end. Unripe fruit will have little to no fragrance while ripe fruit will smell sweet.
The stronger the aroma, the more ripe the fruit.
6. Talk to the vendors.
Talking to the farmers and local artisans is one of the greatest benefits of the market.
While being courteous that they are working, you might ask where they are located, and perhaps what else they grow or make.
Ask for a business card with their Facebook page for you to like and keep up with their business and locations.
7. Show a farmer how you used their produce.
Report to farmers on how delicious or useful their produce was. Tell a farmer your favorite way to cook or serve an item they produce. Farmers love to hear your positive feedback and often share with others.
Moreover, if you make jam or pickles, think about sharing a jar with the farmer that grew the produce.
Have fun! Explore! Try one new thing each time you go!