Now that summertime is here, it's a good time to go try out some local farmers markets.
When you buy local, you are not only supporting your local farmers/artisans but you are able to enjoy fruits, vegetables and other items that were harvested or created within 24 hours. The items taste fresher and better than those that have been shipped for a long period of time.
Not sure where the nearest farmers market is? Check this link.
Below are my thoughts on visiting a farmers market.
Walk the entire market.
Walk the entire market to see what is available, compare prices and do some meal planning.
Most of the items go earlier in the market, if there's something that you've wanted, show up early to beat the masses.
Or show up late.
Most booths will sell their items at a reduced price at the end of the day simply because they do not want to bring their items back home with them. This is a good time to negotiate on pricing.
Bring the kids, bring a friend and/or bring your pup. (note: Some farmers markets don't allow pets, so check the market's rules beforehand.)
It's more than just fruits and vegetables.
You'll find live music, meats, cheeses, farm eggs, tasty beverages, handmade soaps, flowers, art and more.
Bring Your Own Bags. I have a couple of these flip + tumble bags and they are great for market days. They fold up to the size of a sockball and open up enough to hold lots of goodies to bring home. See here.
Most booths don't accept credit cards so be sure to bring cash for easy transactions. Plus you can budget how much you spend too.
Lots of farmers markets have free water available, misting tents and other tasty beverages to purchase as well. You could always bring a bottle of strawberry infused water with you too!
Know what is in season.
Here is a good resource for knowing what is in season for your region.
A farmers market is a great way to connect. Talk to the farmers and artisans. Ask if you can try something before buying. Ask where they are located. Ask when they picked those shiny tomatoes that you have your eye on.
Try something new.
See something that you're not sure of what it is or how to prepare it? Ask for a sample or for ideas on how to prepare the item at home. You will be amazed by how many different ways you can prepare some fruits and vegetables or what to pair a local cheese or bread with.
Ask about pre-ordering.
Some booths have the option to pre-order. Maybe you missed out on something they had that day or you'd like more. You can pre-order your items with some vendors before the market day and then pick them up when you arrive!