Farmers' market shopping tips

Farmers' markets are everywhere now, but think about planning ahead to save money and disappointment.

Farmers’ markets are everywhere now, but think about planning ahead to save money and disappointment. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your experience.

1. Bring cash and small change
Many vendors only accept cash, so make sure to have some on hand. Using small change will make buying goods quick and easy. Although some markets may have an ATM, you may pay a fee to use them. Save money by being prepared!

2. Bring reusable bags
Reusable bags are not only are they good for the environment, but they are also usually more sturdy than paper or plastic. If you plan on spending a full day at the market, consider bringing a backpack or rolling cart to make carrying goods easier.

3. Make a list
Making a list of what you need can help you stay organized and not overspend. The abundance of fresh produce may be tempting, but it doesn’t keep long. Check what’s in your fridge beforehand!

4. Skip the grocery store
The best time to go to the market is when your fridge is nearly empty. Instead of heading to the supermarket when you run out of something, try to hold out until you can hit the market for fresh produce.

5. Pay attention to the seasons
Know what the market is selling before you go so you’re not disappointed. Many markets have calendars on their websites that list when certain products are in season. An alternative is to contact the market directly and ask what they have available.

6. Look for events
Many markets host events including food festivals, live music and kid-friendly activities. Check out your market’s website or newsletter to see what events are going on and make a day of it!

7. Ask questions
The vendors can be a wealth of knowledge, so don’t be afraid to ask questions! The benefit of going to the market is not only to buy fresh, local produce, but also to meet the people who grow it.

8. Survey the market
It’s easy to pick up the first pint of strawberries you see, but don’t be too hasty! Take a walk through the market before you buy to see if you can find a better price, fresher produce or a vendor who sells in bulk. With so much variety at the market, you can afford to be picky.