A Guide to the Farmer’s Market

Planning to shop at a farmer’s market? Here are three things you ought to know before you go.

The Farmer’s Market - What is it?

Farmer’s markets are shopping events that exhibit unique, locally grown and/or made produce and products,. They have become such a popular alternative to traditional grocery stores in recent years that even the most metropolitan of cities seem to have scheduled farmer’s markets on certain days of the week. Do some research to find out what is going on in your city. Since these open-air markets are not located in permanent structures, they are often scheduled for once or twice a week, depending on the general demand in the area.

What makes these kinds of markets special is that they allow local farmers to sell directly to consumers! Often erected in city centers, streets, or parks, community-based farmer’s markets allow farmers to set up stands where they can sell their own crops and produce. Many farmer’s markets even have vendors that sell delicious prepared food.

What are the benefits?

One of the major benefits of buying local produce from your neighborhood farmer’s market is that it is locally sourced, which can help your family reduce its overall carbon footprint. Since the flowers, fruits, veggies, and more that you pick up are not being shipped and processed across the country, you cancel out the emissions that result from transport and packaging. Not to mention, local farmers often have more freedom to choose which items to grow and sell, which means there’s a higher probability that you can find more specialized products or types of foods, as they are not trying to appeal to a larger mass market.

A Guide to the Farmer’s Market
A Guide to the Farmer’s Market

What should I bring?

So now that you’re ready to go to your first Farmer’s Market, here are a few tips that will make sure your experience is the best, most efficient, and most environmentally friendly that it can be!

  • Reusable bags: This is a green way to transport your groceries – paper and plastic bags aren’t great for the environment. Whether you prefer canvas or any other type of reusable grocery bag, be sure to pack them along for your trip. Be sure to bring a few – you want to have enough!
  • A small pull-cart or wagon: If you plan on buying a number of things, you’ll need to keep in mind that unlike traditional grocery stores, Farmer’s Markets do not provide you with carts to push around your stuff.
  • Cash: In this day and age, most farmers will be able to process debit or credit charges, using different types of mobile processing tools. However, to speed up your shopping trip and assure that you don’t run into any technical difficulties, keep some cash on hand in smaller bills.
  • Talk to the farmers/sellers: If you don’t know much about farming and produce, the people selling in the stalls can give you invaluable insights as to what you’re purchasing. If they aren’t too busy trying to help other consumers, don’t be afraid to ask their feedback on how to pick, cook or extend the life of your produce.

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