How to Save Money at Farmers Markets.
Farmers markets are wonderful – fresh produce, supporting local farmers, and discovering new foods. Getting great deals is also wonderful, and it’s very possible at farmers markets!
Here is a list of 10 ways to save big during your next farmers market adventure.
1. Sleep in
If you’re a late riser, you’re in luck! In this case, the late bird gets the (cheaper) worm. Most farmers don’t want to pack all of their produce away, and become more willing to give discounts later in the day.
2. Shop Sunday
Better yet, shop late on Sunday. Many farmers travel from out of town and will spend the entire weekend at the market. Late on Sunday they are thinking about heading back home, and looking to sell the rest of their produce so they don’t have to bring it back with them. Because of this, you could get great deals on whatever produce is left.
3. Bring a friend and buy in bulk
If you’re able to buy the rest of the farmer’s tomatoes, for example, or at least a very large portion, you can expect a deep discount. Bring a friend and some bags for easy transport, and share the produce for great savings. This is doubly true if you buy produce that’s in season. Buying in bulk, when it’s already pretty cheap, ensures excellent savings.
4. Be flexible with purchases
It is a good idea to meal plan and know what vegetables you will need for the week ahead. That being said, flexibility will save you bundles more. If you were seeking snap peas, but green beans were half the cost because of the season, being flexible and switching veggies is the way to go.
5. Find a great farmer
Like any business, there are great farmers market stands and not so great ones. Ask around to find a friendly farmer with great deals. Some farmers send their ‘best’ produce to local markets and save their ‘second class’ produce for farmers markets.
These farmers offer their still perfectly good produce at a much lower cost. Always be friendly and polite when seeking deals. You get many more bees with honey.
6. Be loyal
Shop regularly and try to be loyal to the same farmer stands. It’s always fun to look around and try new things, but save big bulk purchases for the same farmer. This will allow you to get even greater savings. Farmers who know you may begin to offer you even bigger discounts, or set things aside at a special price just for you (if they’re expecting you).
7. Barter if you can
Do you have a little veggie patch of your own? If so, you may be able to barter for free veggies. If you happen to have a ton of zucchini, much more then you could possibly eat, you may wish to offer it as a trade to your regular farmer. You could possibly trade your 20 zucchini for veggies you don’t grow in your garden.
8. Buy ripe produce
Ripe produce, or bruised produce, does not look as nice as the flawless stuff, and for that reason is almost always cheaper. Knowing how to preserve your produce can save you a ton, while allowing you to eat healthy all year long. Buying in bulk, in season, and purchasing ripe produce = triple savings!
9. Be a rainy day shopper
Bad weather makes people want to stay inside. But farmers markets are still open in rainy weather. Farmers will be eager to sell if they know their customers will be few. Plus, it’s a great rainy day activity to keep your kids busy.
10. Be adventurous and ask for advice
Being willing to try new vegetables & fruits is another great way to save money. Perhaps a veggie you have never heard of is in season and very cheap. Asking the farmer how to prepare it, or what foods to combine it with is a great idea.
Most farmers are very friendly and love talking about their produce. They may even offer you that produce for less, or free, in hopes that you like it and will buy more from them next week.
Supporting your local farmers is a wonderful thing, and it doesn’t have to cost you a bundle of money to do so. In fact, if done right, you can expect to pay significantly less then you would at any grocery store.
Healthy eating can be fun and inexpensive. Consider trying one of these 10 suggestions for big savings at farmers markets!