So there is a myth about shopping at farmers markets that we would like to bust. Produce at your local farmers market has gained the title of “expensive “when compared to produce at a chain grocery store, and we definitely do not think this is always the case. Along with being good for the local economy, organic, fresher, and better tasting, local produce can also beat out the price of grocery store produce. You just have to know how to shop. To guide you on your next adventure to the local farmers market, here are some tips to follow to save some money.
Go for less than perfect
Let’s get real. Do your apples really need to be the exact shade of red and shaped to perfection? Well for a lot of people, yes they do, but you’re a savvy shopper and your spending habits aren’t affected by fruit vanity. Because the not so pretty items don’t sell as well, a lot of times they are actually discounted in price. And even if the seller isn’t advertising the items are discounted, just ask. Give a concerned look at that deformed peach and simple say, “Is this one full price?”
Don’t make a list
Yes, in most cases making a list when grocery shopping is a must if you’re trying to save, and especially if you’re on a tight budget until the next payday. If you make a list when going to the farmers market, however, then you might not be as cognizant of the lesser expensive items. Instead of going in with a list of specific items, try showing up open minded without any ideas of what fruits and vegetables you need. Plan out meals based on cheaper produce once you are there and can see your options.
Timing is everything
So it’s pouring the rain outside. Pull up your rain boots, grab an umbrella, and head out to the market to score some deals. Supply and demand drive prices in the sense that if there are less people in attendance, then there is less likely of a chance that farmers will be able to sell all items easily. Going to a market when the crowds are low will give you more options with more say so on prices. Going 30 minutes before the market closes is also a good time to get leftovers that vendors will be trying to get rid of by selling cheaper.
Buy in season
A bowl of cherries in the dead of winter may be exactly what you want, but when it comes to budget friendly eating, it’s probably not the best idea. The beauty of a farmers market is that cherries will not even be an option in the middle of January. Shopping locally will in-fact force you to buy what is in season, and those fruits and vegetables dramatically decrease in price.
It’s a market, not a grocery store. Don’t hesitate to do a little haggling. Remember that produce has an expiration date and these farmers want to get rid of their crops. Try to build a relationship with the regular farmers and show you’re a loyal customer. Chances are they just might cut you a deal on items if you get in good enough.