Each year I get excited for May to roll around. The temperatures start to warm up, people start to come outside after a long winter and the farmers market is underway. For my wife and I, a Saturday (and sometimes Sunday) morning stroll through the farmers market not only allows us to pick out some of the freshest produce, but it’s also a great way for us to spend a little time together after a long week of work.
The farmers market offers so much more than just fresh fruits and vegetables. Often times, local bakeries are on hand offering fresh bread and pastries straight out of the oven. You will also find locals who are selling their homemade arts and crafts. My ultimate favorite farmer’s market stops here in Denver are all of the food trucks. My favorite…The Biscuit Bus.
Before you head on over to the farmers market this weekend, be sure to follow these tips to make sure your shopping experience is the best it can be.
Do a Walk Through First
The very first thing my wife and I do each weekend is walk through the entire farmers market without buying anything. Our reasoning for this is because we want to see what venders are there that weekend and check everything out before we make a decision. It’s not uncommon that one stand might have tomatoes for $2.00 per pound and another will be selling them for $2.50.
With the introduction of credit card readers for your iPhone or iPad this isn’t as critical as it used to be. You still should also take cash with you. You never know where there might be a vendor that won’t take plastic. Our favorite produce stand is cash only, so it’s a must for us.
Try and Go Early
If at all possible try and make the trip to the farmers market as early in the morning as possible. By doing this, you will have access to the best selection of goods. You also never know when you might get something for free. A couple of weeks ago we happened to be at the farmers market when the Food Network was filming at a gourmet peanut butter and jelly food truck. They ended up giving away sandwiches to their first 70 customers and we were lucky enough to be part of that.
Buy in Bulk if Possible
Farmers markets are a great place to polish your bargaining skills. Most farmers don’t want to leave with any produce left on their truck at the end of the day. It’s not uncommon to ask them for a bulk discount. There is a stand at our local market that will either sell by the pound or let you fill up an entire grocery sack for just $10. Just make sure that you are prepared to use it all or it will go to waste.
The farmers market is a great place for you try new things. You never know what you might find, and you may end up finding a delicious, new favorite. If you see something being offered that sounds good, but you are unfamiliar, just ask for a sample. Almost all of these vendors will be more than willing to let you try something out before you buy it.
I am going to be very honest, spontaneity is one thing that I lack. A trip to the farmers market can be a great place to work on that. Don’t leave home with a list of things that you want to get. Just have fun and buy whatever sounds good in the moment. If you try and go with a weekly menu planned, it might get tossed aside when you see all of the variety you have to select from.
The farmers market is a great place to go if you want to find some amazing products and other goods. It’s also a great way to support local businesses in your community. By following some of these tips, you will be able to enjoy the experience just a little more.
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