Living in a prime growing area of the South offers loads of benefits including access to some of the freshest produce available at a variety of local farmers markets. Use these tips to make the most of your farmers market experience and enjoy the best of the season.
1. Get there early
If you want the best and freshest selection of produce and other items, it’s always best to shop the farmers market as early as possible.
2. Know Your Seasons
One of the best reasons to shop at farmers markets is to enjoy the freshest produce available at the peak of the local growing season. Talk to the vendors to find out what they’ll be bringing to the market and when in the coming weeks.
3. Bring reusable bags
It’s good to get in the habit of bringing your own reusable bags to the farmers market. Although some vendors will offer plastic bags or small fruit containers bringing your own cloth bags to use instead helps reduce the hazards from significant waste on the environment. It also helps farmers reinvest more of their profits into what they grow, rather than into the purchase of unnecessary plastic bags.
4. Bring an assortment of cash
Although it’s becoming a lot more common for vendors to accept debit or credit cards, it’s always a good idea to bring cash to the farmers market. Making your purchases using exact cash (or close enough to it) will save time and make things a lot easier for the vendor.
5. Try something new
Farmers markets offer the perfect opportunity to explore and enjoy a whole different assortment of produce than you might typically see at the grocery store. Try to stray from your usual favorites and try something new. If you’re not sure where to start or how to prepare a new vegetable, don’t be afraid to ask the farmer for insight.
6. Shop Late for best deals
If you’re looking for some extra good deals, closing time is the best time to shop at the farmers market. Vendors are usually a little more inclined to reduce their prices at this time to save them from having to pack up a lot of produce and possibly even throw it away. Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount — you might be surprised how much more produce you end up bringing. home.
7. Shop around
We’re fortunate to have such a great variety of farmers markets spread all throughout the community at various days and times of the week. Mix up your farmers market experience a little this season by trying a new market each week. Sample produce and other products for a range of different farmers and vendors to find out which items you favor most. Every market offers something different, whether it’s the addition of meats and cheeses, homemade breads, or even live entertainment, check out our 2016 Farmers Market Guide to find out what to expect at a dozen local markets all around Birmingham.