The first farmers’ markets of the year are exciting! After winter, you can finally find fresh, local food in abundance. But it’s easy to drain your wallet if you don’t go with a plan (trust me, I’ve been there). With a little strategy, however, there are ways to score savings at the farmers’ market.
Here are 8 tips to help you save money at the farmers’ market:
- Browse first. Take a look before buying, especially if you are looking for a few bunches or bags of something. It pays to comparison shop.
- Carry cash. Some vendors may take plastic now, but if you go in with a cash limit, you can keep to a food budget. Also, paying cash helps small local farmers as credit card payments cut into their profits.
- Bring a limited number of bags. This again limits what you think you might want to buy. Unless you are going to freeze or can the excess, it’s better to shop often instead of wasting food.
- Walk or bike there. Cut down on traffic congestion and help control purchasing. Besides, you brought your own bags, right? You can only carry so much in your bike basket and on your back.
- Ask for ugly produce. Most farmers put out their best and brightest produce. But they may have B grade items that are perfectly fine to use (if cosmetically challenged) at steep discounts. Or, they may be able to bring some to the next market.
- Ask for discounts. If you are buying a large quantity, or shopping with a friend, ask for a discount. It never hurts to ask.
- Hit the market late. It may be easier to ask for discounts towards the end of the day. Vendors may give a slight discount at the end of the day to avoid packing up their wares. Help out your farmer friends by buying what is left.
- Get to know your farmers. Visit your favourite vendors often and get to know them by name. They may let you know when they have special produce coming up, or how to score a case of peaches during canning season.
Farmers’ markets are a great way to support local producers and local economy. For more info, check out our local farmer’s markets online guide before you go.