Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tips from the Market

The Homegrown Mama sets aside her laundry basket for reusable shopping bags and heads to the open air market...

To kick off the Memorial Day weekend in my town, our Carousel District Farmers Market opens this Friday morning, bright and early.   It's been a while since I frequented the market, but I'm anxious to return.  Until my garden starts producing, I look forward to supporting our local farmers and their families.  I look forward to seeing them again and marveling at how their lives changed over the winter from the addition of a new baby to the improvement in the math skills of the sweet little girls at the Amish stand on the end (my favorite!). I'm anxious to take my children and spend the morning strolling down town, visiting the  vendors, listening to the music from the carousel and maybe even ending with a visit to the Little Buckeye Children's Museum.  

Here are 5 tips to maximize your Farmers Market experience:
  • Bring your own bags and cash.  Most of the vendors really appreciate the extra thought when you use smaller bills since they can't just run out and make the change you'd need if every one brought 20s from the ATM.
  • Get to know the vendors.  Spend some time chatting with them while you're surveying what they have to offer or counting out your change.  Doing this can and often will lead to new information or experiences.  Chatting with vendors at a market several years ago was how I came to discover a berry farm in the middle of nowhere which then lead to me finding locally grown wheat! 
  •  Ask questions about their produce.  It's really expensive to be declared certified organic and many small farms can't afford it, even though they fall within the guidelines.  Asking never hurt, the worst that will happen is that you'll actually know what's going into the production of your food... which is part of the reason behind buying from the source to begin with!
  • Bring your friends!  Take someone who has never been to a Farmers Market and introduce them to the excitement of local honey or handmade soap.   
  • Don't just find one market... find them all!  In my area, there are markets on almost every day of the week, in several locations.  Not all the farmers sell at the same locations and some of the prices are reflective of the locations (example: Greenhouse A farm market has higher prices than Town B farm market.  Same basic vendors, but the clientele at Greenhouse A is used to paying more.). 
In case you need some help finding markets in your area here are a few websites to help narrow down your search!

Have you already benefited from Farmers Markets this year or are you still waiting in anticipation?


3 comments:

EV said...

After years of frequenting farmer's markets, my 13 year old is becoming a vendor. Your notes about money were read with interest. Thanks.

Anne H said...

I love the way you write your blogs! I just wanted to say that your site is really refreshing.

Laura said...

EV: Good luck to your 13 year old! What a great show of independence!

Anne: Thanks!

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