With the warmer weather, your local farmers market will open soon! Learn some tips to shop smart while farmers market shopping.
Everyone loves a good farmers market to buy the freshest local, and seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Get your corn on the cob, tomatoes and everything else you love this spring and summer season!
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Where to find farmers markets
As summer approaches, you should start to see farm stands pop up around your local area.
Here in Northern Virginia, our farmers markets are organized through the county parks and recreation department. So they're held in many different towns on different days of the week.
If you're not sure about your area, just search online for “farmers markets near me.” Check the dates and times so you don't miss the next one.
Tips for farmers market shopping
Shopping at a farmers market is a delightful way to support local growers, discover fresh produce, and connect with your community.
Whether you're a seasoned market-goer or a first-timer, these 7 tips will help you make the most of your farmers market shopping experience.
The best way to carry all of your fresh produce is bring your own large canvas bags. You can also store a collapsible basket in your car for your next trip. These eco-friendly choices reduce waste and make it easier to transport your goodies.
It's also smart to bring a cooler in your car with some ice for the items that need to stay cool before you can get home. Most farmers markets now sell farm-fresh meat, milk and eggs, so that cooler will come in handy.
To streamline your transactions, bring cash in small denominations and change. While some vendors now accept card payments, cash is often preferred.
Set a budget
You will have such a big selection of all kinds of produce, it can be easy to impulse buy without having meals in mind for the food you purchase.
Before heading out, determine how much you're willing to spend. Having a budget in mind helps you prioritize your purchases and avoid overspending.
Get to know the farmers
When you form relationships with your local farmers, it is the best way to find out if you are actually getting local produce. This is a great way to get to know how your food is harvested and when the best products are available.
Engage with the vendors, ask about their farming practices, and learn more about the products they offer. They're often passionate about what they do and can provide valuable insights, recipes, or recommendations.
Stock up on seasonal produce
Farmers markets showcase the best of each season. Embrace the seasonal produce by opting for fruits, vegetables, and other products that are locally grown or sourced.
Not only will you enjoy the freshest flavors, but you'll also support sustainable agriculture in your community.
Stock up and preserve some of summer's best like peaches and berries. Cucumbers can be pickled, and it's easy enough for the kids to help with. If you don't have any experience, it is easy to learn how to pickle anything.
This way, your fridge and kitchen space won’t be overloaded with tons of fruits and vegetables. And be sure to store the produce correctly.
Watch your food waste
You don’t have to go to the market and stock for the entire week. Instead, consider hitting up the weekend farmers market and only buying enough to get you through the next few days so that you can get the best deals and freshest produce.
Don't shy away from slightly imperfect fruits and vegetables. They are just as nutritious and flavorful as their perfect counterparts but are often sold at a lower price. Embracing imperfections can help you save money while reducing food waste.
Keep your market finds fresh
Most fruits and vegetables don’t need to be refrigerated. In fact, with items like tomatoes they will lose their freshness quickly and become mealy and mushy.
Make sure you do store greens in the fridge. Use your refrigerator crisper so that air can circulate and keep them fresher.
Don’t store fruits and vegetables together because some give off a gas called ethylene.
Try something new
Farmers markets often have unique and specialty items that you may not find in regular grocery stores. Use this opportunity to try new fruits, vegetables, or artisanal products that catch your eye.
The farmers market is not just about shopping. It's an experience! Take a moment to soak in the vibrant atmosphere, enjoy live music, and relish the mouth-watering aromas wafting from the food stalls.
Engage with fellow market-goers, strike up conversations, and appreciate the sense of community that thrives at the market. Happy shopping!
More ways to save
There are lots of simple strategies to help you stay on budget as a busy family: