How to Save Money at the Farmers' Market
If you’ve never been to a nearby farmers’ market, check LocalHarvest.org to see if you have one nearby! It’s worth the trip actually getting your produce (and sometimes meat or other goods like jams, honey, and bread) straight from its source, getting to know the people who make it and knowing you’re putting money back into the local economy. Here are a few tips to make the most of your cash the next time you visit the market.
Sleep in! Most farmers’ markets operate from the morning to early afternoon. If you go later in the morning, in the last hour or so, you can often find better deals, as the individual vendors are looking to finish up that day’s sales without having to take much back.
Shop in season. The same is true of shopping at the grocery store, but if you only buy produce in season, the prices will be much less inexpensive. For a generous listing of what is in season month-by-month for your area, click here.
Stay away from the prettiest selection. Think about what you’ll be using your produce for. If you’re turning tomatoes into sauce or julienning your zucchini or making a smoothie with those strawberries, you don’t need the prettiest of all the produce! We’re not saying buy anything that looks hazardously different—but if there’s anything oddly-shaped, maybe slightly more ripe, or different from the other produce around it, tell the vendor you’d be happy to pick that particular item if they’d knock a bit off the price. Most are happy to comply!
Make friends! When you’ve found a vendor or stall you like, keep returning to them whenever you come by. Talk with the growers and sellers, ask for recommendations or ask questions about the produce. Encourage your kids to ask questions about growing the produce. And smile! Even if you never trade names, the familiar smile of a satisfied customer can mean the difference between paying full-price and a few friendly discounts or free goods!
Share your tips for saving money at the farmers’ markets.