An easy way to eat locally grown food outside of growing it yourself is by shopping at farmers markets. But if you’re new to this type of shopping, it might be worthwhile to take heed of a few helpful tips before you jump right in.
Have what you need. It’s always a good idea to be prepared with anything in life and shopping for farmers market produce is no exception. With this in mind, be sure to bring your own reusable bags. Although some farmers market vendors offer their own bags, they may not be too sturdy. Those thin, flimsy plastic bags can rip or tear, spilling produce out all over – not to mention, the typical polyethylene plastic bags aren’t great for the environment. As an environmentally friendly alternative, ask the vendor if they carry BioBags, which are made from the starches in plants, rendering them fully compostable and biodegradable products. BioBag products are also certified for composting at home in your backyard piles and are Non GMO Project verified. They completely decompose in a composting, leaving no harmful residues behind. BioBag Shopping & Produce bags are durable and great for maintaining freshness of produce. They can also be customized with branding or logos of vendors – something that would not only benefit you the consumer but the farmers as well”¦.another win-win.
Another way to be prepared means having the right change. While some of the bigger markets accept credit or debit cards, the majority of farmers markets are cash only, especially those in smaller rural areas.
Find the best deals. Go early or just before closing if you’re not into crowds but also if you’re looking for the best deals. For example, the best selections can be found when they open, so as they say: The early bird gets the worm. Then again, going later in the day, near closing, can be an opportune time to snag a discount. Buying in bulk is yet another great way to get more bang from your buck, especially when you can, freeze or dry garden produce (BioBags are good for storage too). Look around first before you buy anything. There’s usually more than one vendor of the same type of produce and you just might find a better deal if you scope out the prices, quality and ripeness of the produce beforehand. And don’t overlook “ugly” fruits and vegetables, which are just as nutritious and flavorful, and normally sold at much lower prices too.
Get to know your local farmers. Buying from farmers in your area not only allows you to support local agriculture, but if you take the time to talk with them, asking questions about their produce and just getting to know them in general, you’ll learn more about how and where the food is produced. You may even develop a kinship as a valued customer, earning extra trade-offs with freebie produce, especially those that are also passionate cooks offering samples of their foods. Oftentimes, asking simple questions can lead to new inspiring recipes on how to cook the foods they are selling.
Nothing is better than growing your own garden produce, but if you’re looking for alternative solutions, shopping for farmers market produce is the next best thing.