13 Things You Should Know About Farmers’ Markets
It’s the perfect time to be shopping at farmers’ markets since so many local products are in season and readily available. Here are 13 things you should know before you make your next trip to the farmers’ market.
Spending the Day in the Sun is Nice, but It's Hard Work
The schedule of a farmer means early to rise, mornings of loading trucks with heavy produce, unloading heavy products, being mindful of money, and arriving home late after a long day. When it rains, customers tend to be scarce and bad weather can easily damage products.
It's Best to Arrive Early
As the old saying goes, the early bird catches the worm. That being said, if you can't make it until later, what you'll get is still fresher than anything that's been shipped to a supermarket, as most farmers pick produce the day of or day before it's sold. In the case of perishable products, many bargains can be found at the end of the day.
Many Farmers Depend on You to Survive
Many farmers count on the income from markets to get by and nearly all who particiate in open markets run small operations where the profit margin is slim.
The Money You Spend at the Market Goes Back Into Your Economy
The same can't really be said for chain supermarkets. Buying at a farmers' market is supporting your local economy.
Please Stop Saying It's so Expensive
Local farm products sell for much more in any specialty store around, where they have to account for additional overhead costs and markups.
Farmers Don't Do Deals
With the very thin margins, the prices are often incredibly fair and there's no room for bargaining. The best way to get a good deal is to be a consistent customer and get to know your local farmers.
Sometimes, Produce Vendors Are Only Retailers, Not Growers
Ask questions if you think the vendor is a vegetable wholesaler, not a local farmer.
Farmers Care About Where Their Products Are Coming From
Larger vendors may have a retail outlet, or be part of a franchise or chain business. Ask questions about where your food is coming from.
Look out for Buzzwords
Natural, specialty, estate, artisan, local, and organic. You can always ask questions about the products to ensure what you see is what you get and remember that most organic farmers are proud to display organic certification.