Tips for Making the Most out of your Farmers’ Market Trip
Planning a trip to our wonderful Sunday Farmers’ Market? Here are some tips to make it most enjoyable!
- Always bring cash. It will help if you bring small bills and change. You will be paying at each individual farmer’s stand and they usually do not accept checks or credit cards.
- Bring large cloth or net shopping bags to consolidate purchases. Old baby and toddler carts make good shopping carts. When selecting one for use, keep in mind that the market can get crowded and you want something easy to maneuver. If you use a wire folding cart, place a cardboard box with a liner in the bottom of the cart to keep your purchases from pushing through the wire squares.
- Try not to carry a purse. Fanny packs and pockets are the best way to carry money and keys.
- Dress for the weather: most markets are outdoors and not covered. Wear comfortable walking shoes.
- Usually there is more than one vendor selling a product and prices can vary greatly. Do make sure when comparing prices that you are taking into consideration production methods and package sizes.
- If you decide to try and bargain for a better price, it may not be well received on small quantities. Many times large quantities will get a price break. Do not be afraid to ask.
- Many consumers are curious about the various production methods used by a farmer. Don’t be afraid to ask the farmer about the production practices they use. Some farmers may include this information on their signs. See “Farmers’ Market Speak” for an explanation of different production practices and their terms.
- If you don’t know what it is – ask! The average consumer is only familiar with a handful of fruit and vegetables. To produce vegetables year round a farmer may grow 70 different crops! Expand your cooking horizons and try the new and unusual fruit and vegetables at the market. If you aren’t sure how to prepare it, ask for tips. Farmers may even have recipes available to help you out.
- Handle the produce carefully. Don’t squeeze the tomatoes or peaches with your finger tips. If you want to check for firmness, place them in your palm and flex your hand. To tell if an ear of corn is fully ripe, feel the end of the ear for fullness. If you are unsure of these techniques, ask the farmer to show you.
- Consider how busy the grower is when asking questions. If they have time, most producers are more than happy to discuss the best apple for pies or how they grow their vegetables. Remember that they are not polished sales people but are proud of their products.
- You may want to bring a cooler with a cold pack for your trip home, especially if you plan on purchasing greens, meat, dairy and/or eggs at the market.
Remember, the Santana Row Farmers' Market is every Sunday, 11-3pm, rain or shine!