Many farmers’ markets in the United States will be opening between May-September including the bustling Celina Farmers’ Market! Vendors may include farmers selling fresh produce, seamstresses offering gorgeous fabric items, bakers giving out tasty samples of decadent desserts, jewelry designers, honey producers, and many more. Does your community offer a seasonal (or all year) farmers’ market? If it does, I encourage you to take full advantage of this opportunity! Here are some tips to get the most out of your visit to the market:
§ Choose your time. The freshest produce and biggest selection is available to those who arrive bright and early. Shopping later in the day may get you the opportunity for big discounts on produce and baked goods – most vendors don’t want to take home perishable foods. Just don’t be disappointed if your favorite food is no longer available at the end of the day!
§ Be prepared. Bring your own bags and containers, since vendors do not always have them on hand (plus it’s better for the earth). Stash a cooler in the car to keep items cool and fresh. Some markets do not have public restroom access – plan ahead, especially if you have small children with you.
§ Bring small change. While some vendors might be able to accept credit cards (like me!), Venmo/Paypal or checks, purchases will go easier and faster if you have exact (or close to exact) change.
§ Make a loop around the market first. Take note of items of interest and return to make your purchases…but remember that your favorites could be gone by the time you return!
§ Chat with the farmer. Many farmers are eager to talk about their growing methods and how they store and prepare their product. Most vendors are happy to give you a sample taste of their products, you just have to ask (and pandemic protocols may also play a part in sampling)!
§ Try something new. One of the best parts of farmers markets is sampling new products and foods. Bring along your children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, neighbors – allow them to see food closer to its original state. Allow them to touch when encouraged by the vendors. There are so many colors, tastes and textures that they can explore at a busy market.
I hope you become a regular shopper at your local market. Everyone wins when you shop for fresh and local products!