When you walk into a grocery store, you usually know what to do. You get a cart or basket and, depending on what you need, head that direction. Fresh foods are usually on the perimeter of the store. Packaged items are in isles, in the middle of the store.
But when entering a farmers’ market there can be different rules and frankly, some great new opportunities. To help people feel comfortable shopping in a farmers’ market for the first time, Healthy Northland asked local farmers to help us create a list of tips so you can get the most out of your experience and your groceries!
#1 Plan to Take Your Time
Nicole and Scott Kudrle, who run Kudrle Farms out of Virginia, Minnesota advise you to budget some time at the farmers market. “Your first experience can be very overwhelming,” Nicole says, “with all of the vendors at the market and all of the options. Walk around the market to see what is available first before you go and purchase anything. This also lets you see who has it for the best price.
#2 Ask Questions
“Don’t be afraid to ask the vendor questions,” continues Nicole Kudrle. “Farmers love to engage in conversation with you and tell all about how they farm and what practices they use.”
# 3 Sample Before You Buy
All of the local farmers we spoke with agreed on one great perk of a farmers’ markets. You can ask vendors for a small sample of something before you buy it.
#4 Go for the Experience
Jill Hietala, from the Hibbing Farmers Market, says, “don’t be afraid to visit the market to look around. You don’t know what is available unless you do. Product availability changes week to week.”
#5 Timing is Everything
Kristin DeArruda Wharton from Grand Marais says, “Arrive early to get the best pick of the products! And don’t be afraid to arrive late either. Often farmers are willing to bargain at the end of the market.” Now that’s something you can’t do at a grocery store.
#6 The Little Things
Remember: bring your own bags (and a cooler if you plan to buy meats or dairy); you may need to use cash; thank the farmer! Have fun!
Do you have any tips for shopping at a farmers market? Share in the comments section below.