I shop at my local farmers’ market every week for fresh produce. I had stopped going over the winter because it was just too cold, even though my market is open year round. Then when I went back closer to spring I was kicking myself for paying grocery store prices for produce. It’s so much cheaper at the market! After shopping there for several weeks I have a few quick tips that have helped me get the most bang for my buck and save a ton of fresh fruits and veggies for my family.
6 Tips for Shopping at the Farmers’ Market
1. Make a list.
This is a really basic tip but for me it’s necessary. I get caught up in how beautiful all the fruits and veggies look and just want some of everything! It is possible to come home with too much stuff and end up wasting it. So make sure you know what you need, get those things, and maybe a few yummy extras but be careful not to over-buy.
2. Do a lap.
The market I shop at has both an indoor and outdoor section. I think the outdoor vendors pay less rent and it’s reflected in their prices. I almost always get better deals on produce when I shop the open air stands. Take a few minutes and walk around. Look at the prices of the items on your list at different stands. It stinks to pay $2 for a container of strawberries at one stand and then pass another one where they’re $1.
3. Take cash.
These stands won’t take your checks and credit cards anyway, and this is the perfect way to set a budget on how much you want to spend. You can’t spend more than you have, right?!
4. Shop early.
I always try to get to the market as early as I can. The stuff that comes off the top of the vendors’ boxes is fresher and less smashed than the stuff that spends the day on the bottom of the box. I’ve shopped early and late and always get better produce that lasts longer when I get there in the morning.
5. Shop late.
Tip #4 still stands, but you may want to do a second run later in the day if it’s convenient. A lot of vendors will just want to unload what they’ve got left and you can get super cheap goodies at the end of the day.
6. Eat what you buy.
Duh, right? Remember some of this stuff doesn’t last very long. I’ve gotten a great deal on things like berries and they don’t last more than a day. But my kids love them for an after school snack so it’s still worth it to grab them. Just don’t try to save some things that have a short shelf life and end up throwing them in the trash. You’re only saving money if you actually use what you buy. So keep track of what you’ve got and eat it up before your next weekly run!
What tips do you have for shopping at the farmers’ market!