Enjoy the Benefits of Farmers Markets
As the weather warms up and local farmers begin harvesting their crops, farmers markets open for business. If you haven't stopped by your local market lately, give it a try! You'll find that farmers markets have a great selection of fruits and vegetables that can fit your grocery budget.
Here are some great reasons to visit a farmers market – and tips for getting the most bang for your buck.
Benefits of Farmers Markets
Some of the benefits of farmers markets are that you can find fresh, healthy produce, local foods and other goods that you might not see much of at a conventional store. They're great places to meet people and, if they're outdoors, stretch your legs and enjoy some sunlight.
Farmers markets also allow you to participate in your local farming community. You'll be able to support farmers and other local businesses, keeping cash in your community. And of course, farmers markets can be a budget-friendly source of food.
Saving Money at Farmers Markets
Farmers markets work a bit differently from grocery stores, which means looking for bargains is also a little different. These strategies can help you save:
- Compare prices. Unlike at a grocery store, where different varieties of produce are all displayed in the same area, at a farmers market there may be several stands selling similar items spread out around the market. So if you want to buy pears, for example, first browse around to see which stands offer them and how much they cost. Then you can choose to buy from the farmer who's selling pears at the lowest price.
- Be flexible. The best deals at a farmers market might be fruits that you hadn't planned on buying or a vegetable you've never even seen before. Take advantage of the best offers, as unexpected as they may be. If you've never tried a particular item, ask the farmer for tips on how to prepare it.
- Ask for "seconds." Seconds are fruits and vegetables that don't look picture-perfect due to a few bumps or bruises. But they're still tasty and usable, as Real Simple explains. Vendors will sometimes sell seconds for less than their other produce. Seconds are especially good for jams and sauces, where produce's appearance doesn't matter.
- Time your visit. Shop when the market isn't busy. You may find better prices at the end of the day, when most customers have gone home, or on days when the weather's bad.
- Help out. Volunteer to help with setup or cleanup. Some farmers markets reward volunteers with free produce. Plus, volunteering is a good way to get to know the farmers, who might offer you deals now and then if they recognize you as a regular customer.
Not only are farmers markets a fun alternative to the supermarket, but they can also offer great deals to help you save on groceries. With the summer just getting started, now's the time to check local listings for the location and hours of the farmers market nearest you.