If you’re new the farmer’s market scene, it can be a little intimidating.  There’s usually a fair share of vendors, people who look like they’ve been around the farmers block once or twice, and such and abundance of produce, flowers, and wares, sometimes it’s hard to know where to start.

Well have no fear.  There are easy steps to ensure a smooth shopping experience.

First things first. Even if your local farmers market is on a Sunday, and that’s your day to sleep in, set an alarm.  Popular items sell out and if you beat the crowd you’ll get the best selection.

Bring cash. While some vendors may accept credit, many only take cash. Plus if you’re buying multiple items from one vendor, they make strike a deal if you’re operating cash only.

Bring a large reusable bag, or a handy pull trolly cart.  Many vendors have plastic bags, but why waste when you can reuse!

Talk a walk around the block. Peruse the whole scene before you make your first purchase. You don’t buy the cow before you taste the milk. Ask for samples. Find vendors you like and build
a relationship with them.

Ask questions.  There’s no need to pretend you’re a culinary expert. We can’t all be Alice Waters.
Seriously.  The vendors know their produce: how to grow it, pick it, and cook it.  Some may even have recipe suggestions.

Plan beforehand. You can go into sensory overload and may wind up with more than you could ever possibly use.  But try and also incorporate something new into your list.  Not
familiar with fava beans?  Never eaten a kumquat?  There’s no time like the present.

Look beyond typical produce.  The floral selections at farmers markets are always top notch and inexpensive.

And above all, enjoy yourself!

-Arianna Schioldager

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