4 Tips for Shopping at the Farmers’ Market

4 Tips for Shopping at the Farmers’ Market

Shopping at the Farmers’ Market is an experience in itself. Looking at all the produce, some familiar and some foreign, chatting with local growers and sampling some amazing food are all favorite things to do at a Market. One of the best things about shopping at a Farmers’ Market is the great deals you can score on fresh food. However, shopping at the Market is a lot different than at your local grocery store. It can be overwhelming all the different vendors with their assortment of products. Here are some tips to make the most out of your shopping experience.

  1. Make a Lap Around the Market First. If the Market you are shopping at is fairly large, I like to make one loop around the whole market to see what all the vendors have to offer. If you are on a budget and with a list of specific items to buy, keep an eye out on the prices as some vendors offer the same product at different price points.
  2. Try Something New. Farmers’ Markets offer a lot of produce and items that you may not be able to get at your local grocery store. Take advantage of anything that looks interesting. It will probably be delicious! Some vendors may even allow you to try a sample before buying. If you are on the fence, it may not hurt to ask for a sample before buying.
  3. Ask Questions. These vendors work hard to provide you with the best quality products. Your grocery store employee probably doesn’t know if where the beef was raised but at your Market, the vendor will not only know where the beef was raised but also what it ate. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. These vendors love what they do and love connecting with their customers.
  4. Spread the Word. These Markets cannot survive without your support. Find something great at your Market, tell your friends! These vendors cannot survive without your support. You are helping them keep their heat on in the winter when produce isn’t growing.

Markets are a great activity to add to your Saturday morning. After a couple times attending, you will get to know the vendors and love supporting their local business.

5 Benefits to Purchasing Local Food

5 Benefits to Purchasing Local Food

Supporting your local farmer is something that is now really easy to do. With grocery stores now carrying locally sourced produce, a farmers market to attend every Saturday and produce stands on many corners, shopping local has become easier than ever! But with this ease are there any benefits to buying locally sourced produce and foods? Is it really better to purchase a locally grown pepper over the pepper at the large chain grocery store from a few states over? You bet it is! Here are 5 benefits you will experience when purchasing local food.

  1. Locally grown food has more flavor.  When you shop local in your farmers market, your produce was picked typically the day before if not the day of the purchase. This ensures the freshest flavor! There is a reason why gourmet chefs love to use the freshest ingredients – it just tastes better!
  2. When you eat locally grown food, you are eating seasonally. You may have heard many people tell you to save money in your grocery bill, eat what is in season! Not only does the price differ in the time of year for some products, it also differs in taste! The raspberries you buy fresh at the store in November, do NOT taste the same as the raspberries you buy at the market in July. The fresh ones grown in their actual season just taste better AND have more nutrients.
  3. Local food supports the local economy. When you purchase directly from the farmer, you are supporting their livelihood. Our vendors don’t have other jobs. Growing your food is their ONLY job! By buying from them, you are keeping their heat on during our cold winter months when produce isn’t in season.
  4. Local foods promote a safer food supply. In the recent news, there have been a lot of bacteria scares in our food sources. From lettuce to flour, it seems everything is at risk for contamination. The more steps there are between you and your food’s source the more chances there are for contamination. By buying direct from the farmer, the food goes from them to you. Limiting the exposure to outside contamination.
  5. Local growers can tell you how the food was grown. This is my favorite thing about buying local. Your farmer knows exactly what kind of seed was planted, what chemicals were put on the plant (if any at all) and how it was handled once harvested. They know what tomatoes work best for making spaghetti sauce or how to cook that kohlrabi. This is what they love to do – ask them about your food! I’m sure they would love to answer your questions.

We could come up with many more reasons to eat local but these are my top 5! However you get your groceries, please consider supporting our local growers here at our Market. They work hard to produce their goods and without your support, they wouldn’t be able to do what they love. Stop down to see us at the Market each Saturday from 8am-1pm at Cherapa Place. Get your produce questions answered and meet your grower. Learn where your food comes from and better yet try something new!