So you’ve found your local market, and you’re ready to head out–what’s next?
- Give yourself plenty of time! There’s so much to see and explore. The market is not like the grocery store–it’s not about getting in and out with the necessities. Take the time to get to know both the food and the folks.
- Take a bag or two. They may have some plastic bags from the grocery store or brown paper lunch bags, but it will be much easier if you take a “green” cloth bag that can hold several different items.
- Take cash and preferably, in small bills, and keep it easily accessible. It will make for easier shopping.
- If your market is not covered, prepare for the weather. Sunscreen and a hat might be in order on those warm summer days.
- Be aware that farmers have different personalities and salesmanship. Some will invite you to inspect the food; others will clearly give you the stink eye if you start digging through their peach basket. Also, I never initiate bargaining with a farmer–I just don’t feel right about taking money out of their pockets. If they offer to lower the price (like at the end of the day), I’ll graciously accept.
- And speaking of the end of the day–want to go when there are fewer people and possible deals? Hit the market at the very end of the day. Want to get the freshest choices and have first pick? Head out in the early morning.
- Remember that there’s not necessarily a traffic flow at the market like you’d find in a grocery store. Be respectful of those around you and aware of how people are moving to see the food and make purchases.
- Appreciate the farmer’s time–he or she may be the only person working the booth or stall which means he or she
will be answering questions, bagging food, making sales, etc. Asking for special samples or asking a lot of questions may cause the farmer (and those around you) a bit of stress.
And what I consider the most important tip–thank the farmer who has grown this amazing food for you. These folks are offering you the opportunity not only to live a healthy lifestyle but also connect with the community. It’s a wonderful outing, and you’ll find it so much more enjoyable than rolling a cart up and down aisles of an indoor store.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to run make my list–Saturday’s just around the corner!