Shopping at the farmers market is the easiest way to eat seasonally AND locally. With the explosion of new farmers markets in every city, many of us are venturing into them for the first time, not knowing exactly what to expect or what we might encounter. So we’ve enlisted some expert help from Club W Tastemaker Claire Thomas. She knows a thing or two about shopping the market – she visits her local one weekly! Here are Claire’s top tips for tackling the farmers market.
1. Make a list
Do a little research about what’s in season and come prepared with a list of the items you want to buy. Learn what grows in your area and talk to the growers about what will be coming to market in upcoming weeks. Planning ahead of time will make the plethora of goodies less intimidating and keep you from splurging for a lot of unnecessary items. But do allow a little room to explore a bit. Chances are, you'll find fruit or vegetables you’ve never experienced before, and that’s half the fun!
2. Bring cash
Cash is the currency of the realm. While some times available, don't expect to be able to use a credit card. Small bills and change are also helpful. Purchases will go easier and faster if you have exact (or close to exact) change. And when getting change back, check it, not because someone's out to get you but because honest mistakes are easy to make in a setting with so many distractions.
3. Do a walk-through
We can’t stress the importance of scoping out the scene before opening your wallet enough. Take a quick loop around the entire market before you buy anything. There's nothing worse than making a purchase only to find that it's better and cheaper four stalls down.