The farmer’s market is perhaps one of the oldest forms of farmers and other local artisans sharing their products and services with consumers. Find out how to shop there and save.
By Ashlee Bradshaw, Contributor Writer
It is that time of year again. One of the best things about spring is the local farmer’s market. It can be a great place to meet people in the community, support local businesses, and save money on locally grown food.
What is a Farmer’s Market?
Farmer’s markets are perhaps one of the oldest forms of farmers and other local artisans sharing their products and services with consumers. This old-time practice has become a ritual in the farming community and an excellent way to share their business with ever-so-grateful customers.
Why Shop at a Farmer’s Market?
Shopping at the farmer’s market is an economically smart way to shop. By purchasing products or services at the farmer’s market you are supporting a family as opposed to putting money in the pocket of a CEO at a major grocery chain. Shopping farmer’s markets not only helps the farmer/vendor, but it is also beneficial to you and your family. Many of the farming practices do not include chemicals such as herbicides and pesticides the way that produce manufactured for grocery stores do. By buying local produce at the farmer’s market you are bettering your family’s health and reducing the risk of health concerns related to those chemicals.
Questions for the Farmer:
When buying produce from a farmer’s market, you want to make sure that you are getting the best quality of food. As mentioned before, many of them do not use the harsh chemicals that large produce companies do, however you always want to make sure that the food you are purchasing is safe to eat. The top three questions to ask when purchasing produce are:
1) Are the seeds hybrid or heirloom?
2) Are the seeds genetically modified?
3) Are any chemicals used on the plant while growing/harvesting?
Find your local farmer’s market:
You can search for farmer’s market in your area here: USDA Farmer’s Market Search
How to Save Money at the Farmer’s Market:
Buy in bulk
When you are buying in large quantities vendors are likely to give you a nice discount just as a large store would. Ask what kind of bargain you can get if you are buying 5 or 10 at a time.
Most of the vendors do not like to compete against each other at a small farmer’s market, but if you are at a large market with a lot of vendors, they will likely try to beat the price of a competitor. If you see something for cheaper than what they are selling, try asking them if they would be willing to meet the lesser price.
Become a regular
As with anyone, vendors want to reward their loyal customers. If you are buying from them consistently, see if they offer a special discount or rewards program.
Showing up late is not a bad thing in this case. If the vendors have fresh produce that they are trying to get rid of before next week’s market they will likely give it to you for less than what the original price was.
Bring the kids
Though it may be nice to shop the farmer’s market without kids, they can actually land you some free/discounted stuff (especially if they are about to close shop). It has been my experience that kid’s cuteness always works in their favor. Once you have established a good relationship with the vendors, they are likely to give your kiddo’s an extra apple, tomato, or bundle of carrots. J
Related posts: How to Eat Organically on a Budget
How have you saved money at the farmer’s market?