How to Save Money on Food at the Farmers Market
We enjoy shopping at our market. In Minnesota when it's cold half the year and there isn't much available locally, it's more important than ever to support sustainable local farming during the growing months. But there's a misconception that shopping at farmers markets is expensive, so I have a few tips on how to save money on food when shopping at the farmers market.
- Buy in bulk. Look for deals on multiple items from one vendor. You can often get a deal if you're buying three baskets rather than just one.
- Get to know your farmers. If you frequent a stall and start talking to the farmer, there's a good chance they'll appreciate your loyalty to them by returning the favor in terms of discounts. For example, one of my favorite apple farmers knows I love chestnut apples. He will save me a bushel on Sundays, but he'll also save his seconds, which he sells at a discount, because he knows I make applesauce from them.
- Know your market. Vendors are the market are just like brands at the store. They're all competing for your business, so take some time to walk the market and find out who has the best deal on what it is you're looking for.
- Shop in season. Right now in the spring, you'll probably find the best prices on items like overwintered parsnips, green onions, asparagus, spinach and strawberries, at least if you're in a four-season area. On the West Coast you may find deals on artichokes and pineapples. Wherever you live, if you shop and purchase seasonally, farmers will have better deals because they have more to sell of those items.
Do you shop at the farmers market? If you do, what are your favorite aspects of shopping there instead of your everyday grocery store, and if you don't, what keeps you from venturing to your local market?
Music: "Little Bird" by John Bolten. Used with permission.