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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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If You’re Not Sure, Ask to Taste Before Buying

A lot of farmers are more than happy to provide a sample of their produce.

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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.

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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.

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It’s Not About Retail Sales

The farmers’ market is about cultivating a relationship with people who are willing to spend a little bit more for something a whole lot better.

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Sometimes, Produce Vendors Are Only Retailers, Not Growers

Ask questions if you think the vendor is a vegetable wholesaler, not a local farmer.

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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.

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Not Everything Will Be There All The Time

To offer the freshest, best tasting food at a reasonable price, you have to be patient with the farmers and their growing cycles. There are seasons when certain produce isn’t available.

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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.

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The Internet Has Changed Farm Life for the Better

Customers from all over can keep connected to farm sites and Facebook pages, and can join mailing lists to hear about special crops, prices, and more.

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