All across the country it’s that glorious time of year when you can easily eat freshly harvested food just days after it’s been picked by a local farmer. Farmers markets are not only the perfect place to support local farmers, they’re also great for teaching your kids where their food comes from (and for getting them to try new, healthy foods!). You’re spending your money helping keep a local farmer in business; you’re eating delicious, nutritious food; and you’re spending a lovely day outside with your family. What’s there not to love about that? Although it’s an awesome way to spend your day, it can be a little overwhelming if there are a lot of vendors and you’ve never done this before. So, we’ve put together some tips for how the smartest moms shop the farmers market. Keep these easy ideas in mind to make the most of your money while buying the bestest foods!
Browse For a While.
Take your time when you first get there. Don’t buy the first peaches that you see. Take a look at the difference in prices, and also variety and quality. Smell some of those fruits and veggies and try to get a sense of what seems best.
Research Before You Go.
You don’t have to try to be an expert about your local growing season, but if you look into it a bit before you go, you’ll learn what’s actually grown nearby. If you’re from the midwest and you see avocados, they’re probably the same ones you can get at the grocery store. Not everything that is sold is actually local.
Go at the End of the Day.
You might miss out on some of the best stuff, but if you want to save the most money, then go right before it’s closing up. Farmers don’t want to haul stuff back home, so they’ll more than likely be open to a little bargaining. If you politely ask if they’ll make a deal with you, you’ll probably go home with a lot more food than those who came right at the beginning.
Make a Mental List Before You Go.
What do you really want to get (or achieve) while you’re there? Do you want to make a connection to a local chicken farmer to get fresh eggs and meat through the whole year? This is the perfect time to do it. Are you looking for the organic sweet corn that you can only get this time of year? Prepare to get big heavy bags of it. Think things through before you go so you can make the most of your trip.
Talk to the Vendors.
If you’re not the chatty type that’s okay, but meeting the people who grow the food really makes the experience more rewarding. Who knows what you’ll learn – and maybe you’ll even make some new friends! Some farmers like to trade work for food, so you could spend a day on their farm with your kids doing some weeding and go home with some fresh food. This is also a great way for your kids to see where their food comes from and it’s something memorable for your family to do together.
Go Home With Something Strange.
It’s fun to introduce new and strange foods to your family – and the farmer’s market is the place to relish in the variety of foods that comes from the earth. Did you know there are 3,000 different varieties of tomatoes grown on this planet? Most people have only had a few (or one) of them, so bring home some crazy colored and weirdly shaped veggies just for the fun of it. (Bonus: your kids might be more likely to try it!)
Are you a farmer’s market aficionado? Share your tips in the comments below!