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  • Writer's pictureElissa Strassman

5 Benefits and 7 Tips for Shopping at a Farmers Market

Farmers markets are in full swing, so it only makes sense to talk a little bit about the benefits to shopping at a farmers market, and offer a few tips to make the most of your shopping experience.


Farmers market produce stand
Webster Farmer's Market, Wednesday Evening at Charles E. Sexton Memorial Park(North Ponds Park)


What is a farmers market?


A farmers market is where farmers, or representatives from the farm, sell food that they produce directly to you. Farmers markets occur on a consistent day and time, throughout the year, most often taking place throughout the harvest season, and some throughout the whole year.


A farmers market is where farmers, or representatives from the farm, sell food that they produce directly to you. Farmers markets occur on a consistent day and time, throughout the year, most often taking place throughout the harvest season, and some throughout the whole year.

There are many benefits to shopping at a farmers market. Here are just a few:


Benefits to shopping at a farmers market:


1) Farmers markets allow us to eat with the season:

  • Which means that we can be assured that the food we purchase is at its utmost peak, not only in flavor but also nutrient quality.


2) Farmers markets are good for the environment:

  • Purchasing local food helps to reduce mileage, packaging, and energy needed to keep foods fresh, as it gets sent from the farm, to the grocer, and then to you.

  • It can also help preserve precious land for green space and for farmland too.


3) Farmers markets are good for the community:

  • When we purchase local foods and produce, not only does it help to support our local farmers, and their families, it also gives our local economy a boost.


4) Farmers markets allow us the opportunity to try new things:

  • Oftentimes farmers will bring different varieties of foods that we just may not be able to find at our grocery store, like different varieties of tomatoes, peppers, herbs, or other things.


Perhaps above all…



5) Shopping at farmers markets allows us to form a connection.

  • Farmers markets provide us the opportunity to get to know one another: farmer to consumer, consumer to farmer, farmer to farmer, consumer to consumer...and, the list goes on...

  • It also gives us the opportunity to form and grow a deeper connection to our community.


So now that you know the benefits to shopping at a farmers market, here are just a few tips to making the most of your farmers market experience.


Tips for Shopping at a Farmers Market:


Before you go:


1) Plan ahead:

  • Be familiar with the hours that the farmers market is open

    • If you want to have your pick of what is available, go early. This way you can be sure that things will be well in supply.

    • If you like less crowds, then going closer to closing time may offer you just that. Less crowds may also give you more opportunity to connect with the farmer and chat.

    • If you need help locating a farmers market near you, click here or here.


  • Take inventory of the foods that you already have on hand.

    • This just helps you to get what you actually need for meals and snacks throughout the week, and also to help with preventing food from going to waste.


  • Be familiar with what produce is in season.

    • This may give you an idea for what might be part of the offerings.


  • Make sure you have cash.

    • Not all farmers accept alternative payment methods, so your best bet is to go to the farmers market with cash on hand.

    • Some farmers markets do accept SNAP benefits.

      • To find out if your local farmers market accepts SNAP benefits. click here.

      • To learn more about the SNAP to Market Program, click here.


2) Bring a bag to tote your items you purchase, and a cooler for perishable items you might get.

  • This just makes it easier to carry things in, and if you plan on staying a while, or going anywhere after, if you purchase perishable foods, it helps keep food safe for consumption.

  • If you’re wanting to cut back on the plastic that you use, consider bringing reusable produce bag too.


At the farmers market:


3) Scan the scene.

  • This gives you the opportunity to see what is available, the quality, and select what you most want from the offerings.


4) Talk with the farmers!

  • They have a wealth of information and can share with you all about their farm, how they grow their food, all about what they are offering, how best to store it, what it might taste like, and how you can use it too.

  • If you are wondering if you will be a burden, think again! Many of the farmers I have chatted with have told me that they love meeting and connecting with all of you, and want to be able to share all of their knowledge with you!


5) Keep an open mind.

  • Be flexible: if you can’t find exactly what you were looking/hoping for:

    • Be open to switching things up.

  • Try something new!

    • Whether it’s a new food or a new way to prepare a familiar food, farmers markets offer us the opportunity to learn and try different types of food or different ways to prepare familiar foods.

Back at home and in the future:


6) Enjoy all of what you purchased and when you re-visit the farmers market, be sure to connect with the farmer, who sold your items, and tell them all about your experience.


7) Repeat!


Flowers and Eggplant from Harvest Bound Farms, at the Webster Farmers Market
Flowers and Eggplant from Harvest Bound Farms, at the Webster Farmers Market


What do you like best about shopping at a farmers market? As always, I invite you to leave a comment and share!











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