This weekend we’re taking the boys to the Farmers Market downtown. We used to go the Farmers Market every weekend during the Spring/Summer in Michigan. I loved taking Smalls and seeing where our food was sourced. And allowing him to pick his fruits and veggies helped him be more open to trying different foods.
I mean, what other kid eats raw kale because “it’s fluffy?” Or tries tomatoes because they’re “rainbow” tomatoes? Farmers Markets are a great way to expose your kids (and yourself) to new and different foods, and help support your local economy and farmers. It’s a win-win in my book!
And, because I like to plan ahead, I started making a to-do list so that I wouldn’t forget anything, since the Farmers Market is about 30 minutes from home, and no one wants to get there and have to leave. So, I’m sharing my checklist of sorts with y’all. Need to find your local Farmers Market?[fancy_box id=2]No time? Download my[content_upgrade id=10363] quick and easy 4-point checklist [/content_upgrade] before you head out![/fancy_box]
Tip 1: Bring Cash
Though many vendors will have Stripe or Paypal swipe available, you’ll often be able to strike a better deal when you pay with cash. Remember, when you use your card, the vendor (even at a Farmers Market) has to pay those card fees, and usually they’ll pass the fees on to you.
I’ve been to Farmers Markets where I saved $5.00 simply because I was able to pay in cash. And, I’ve had times when I couldn’t purchase something because the booth didn’t have the ability to use cards. Some larger Farmers Markets will have an ATM…but don’t bank on that (aren’t I punny?)!
Tip 2: Reusable Bags
It may seem silly since many vendors will have plastic bags that you can use…but remember, they have to pay for those…and the cost is often passed on to you. So, do yourself a favor and bring your own bags. They’ll be far more comfortable to carry, too. I use and love these bags:
You’ll notice that I have a few different types of bags-that’s because, depending upon my list, my purchases may need insulation, or I may need wheels.
Tip 3: Come Hungry
This may not come as a surprise, but many Farmers Markets have amazing food! One of my favorite things is to get there right when they open and peruse the stalls looking for breakfast.[fancy_box id=2]No time? Download my[content_upgrade id=10363] quick and easy 4-point checklist [/content_upgrade] before you head out![/fancy_box]
And, if you have dietary restrictions like me, often, you can find great artisan products. I’ve had some amazing gluten free, dairy free muffins, pastries, and more.
Tip 4: Have Your List Handy
Farmers Markets are more than just produce!! I’ve been able to pick up lamb, farm fresh eggs, milk, cheese, butter, honey, meat, facial moisturizer, and more.
I even found some amazing beef sticks and pork belly at a Farmers Market in Michigan! If you bring your whole list, you may be surprised at how much of your shopping you can do without ever setting foot in the grocery store. And likely, the food will be far more flavorful.
Tip 5: Try Something New
Farmers Markets often feature a lovely variety of homemade goodies. And they usually have copious samples.
So take a chance on those samosas, or the pesto dip…or a new variety of cheese! I discovered the most amazing bread & butter pickles from a sample at a local Farmers Market!
Test everything you can; you may surprise yourself!
Tip 6: Ask Questions
Have you ever made something and sold it? The vendors and farmers are talented folks! Make friends, ask questions, let them help you pick the perfect item-you will end up with new friendships and some amazing take aways. Often, the food that is available is better than organic, but often, the organic certification is too pricey for small farms. So ask questions about how they grow or make their food.[fancy_box id=2]No time? Download my[content_upgrade id=10363] quick and easy 4-point checklist [/content_upgrade] before you head out![/fancy_box]
During the Spring and Summer, do most of your shopping locally. Find your favorite Farmers Market and go as often as possible!
Need to find your local Farmers Market? Use this handy tool from the USDA!