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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Top 10 Tips for the Farmers Market

Because half of the year is basically winter and cold here we get to experience the Farmers Market for about 5 months out of the year. Ours is getting ready to start back up again for the year and I'm super excited! Here are few tips for you before you head out to grab the best stuff! 

1.) Go early or go late? The best stuff is going to go first. So if you are looking for the best of the best or the biggest tomatoes you better get there early. However going late sometimes has it advantages as well because some farmers may discount their products at the end because who wants to return back with just a few items? 

2.) Bring a cooler. Because the items are usually more fresh you don't want to have it age quickly while inside of your warm car. Placing everything into a cooler will help keep things from going limp or warm until you get home. 

3.) Take small bills. Many times the items are going to be $1-$5 depending on how many and what you are purchasing. Carry lots of smaller bills and don't hit someone with $100 bill they cannot break. 

4.) Know your growing seasons. Yes I can get strawberries all year round but is it really worth it for $6.00 a lb. in the winter rather than $2.00 a lb. at the end of June? 

5.) Know what you are purchasing. While you assume that things are locally grown you may be surprised to learn differently. Talk to the seller to ask your organic questions, growing questions, etc. 

6.) Bring your own bags. It helps cut down on the extra items and some sellers may not have any on hand to give you. You'll either be carrying around a box or making several trips to the car. Plus what looks better than some fresh vegetables peaking out of your reusable bags?

7.) Get to know your farmers. If you are looking for a bulk order you can give them a heads up and preorder and probably pick it up yourself. Or if you become a regular but never make it there until just before closing, you may be able to have your order held for you instead of hoping it's there by the time you arrive. 

8.) Walk around first. Nothing stings you more than purchasing a nice basket of blueberries only to walk down a few more tables and see you could have saved a dollar or two. 

9.) Want to try something new? Ask! Farmers may be willing to give you a sample of a new vegetable that you want to try. But please don't go just asking for free samples from everyone. 

10.) Be prepared. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes. My local marker has about 8 tables but if I travel to the bigger one 45 minutes away I can spend all day there with 100s of tables between the farmers market and flea market! Also if you are going to make it a day, be sure to wear sunscreen and bring a hat! 

Leah Shumack is the voice behind Clair's Freebies. Born and raised in ski country Western NY where I still live today with my beautiful 8 year old daughter. When I'm not tending to her or out scoping deals I enjoy entering giveaways and trying out new things in the kitchen!

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