Summer is great for so many reasons, but the abundance of outdoor farmers’ markets is one of my favorite parts. The produce is fresh, the baked goods are made locally, and the food is just generally all around delicious. Before you make your first trip, check out these tips to make your experience even better!
1. Do your research
Depending on where you live, there could be many nearby farmers’ markets worth stopping at. Do some research online or in your local paper to see what days each is open, and plan a schedule based around that. There might be completely different vendors at each location, so it’s worth your time to go to a few and see what’s available.
2. Get there early
When it’s nice outside, people love doing their grocery shopping at farmers’ markets. To avoid any crazy crowds, make sure you arrive right as they open. This way, you can scope out all of your options and compare prices without feeling overwhelmed.
3. Bring cash
A select few vendors will accept credit cards, but you can’t assume that all will. To avoid any hassle, bring enough cash with you to cover your purchases. Also, try to bring mostly small bills, as not everyone will have large amounts of change on-hand.
4. Taste test
Often times, there will be samples of the food being sold out on display tables. Don’t hesitate to try a few samples! Not only will these little snacks recharge you for more browsing, but you’ll also get to know what you like and dislike from each vendor without having to waste your money on something you might not enjoy.
5. Buy smart
When shopping at a farmers’ market, it’s best to keep in mind what is in season. Although a large variety of fruits and vegetables are probably being sold, those that are best “now” are what you want to choose. Also, know what is grown locally to get the best quality.
6. Bring bags
Some vendors might offer small bags, but it’s always best to bring your own to keep loose items together. It makes life easier not carrying a ton of bags around, anyway, and it’s also the eco-friendly option.
7. Plan according to meals
Before you do your farmers’ market shopping, plan out a few meals for the week. This will help you know what to buy, and also to avoid wasting food that you won’t end up using. Since mostly everything is fresh, the shelf life is typically pretty short.
Make sure that you look out for at least a few farmers’ markets this summer! Enjoy all of the great food that they have to offer and the fun of simply walking around and perusing the various stands. If you follow these tips, I guarantee you’ll be an expert shopper in no time.