For the benefit of our health and wellness we should all be eating the various colors of the rainbow through our vegetables and fruits. A great place to acquire your local rainbow is at your farmers market. Many believe that shopping at farmers markets is always more expensive than at stores with four full permanent walls. While generally true there are ways to reduce your costs. Here are some tips to keep your costs down while shopping locally and supporting the smaller farmers.
Plan your meals. It is most cost effective when you buy what you need and use what you buy. It is possible to use the same ingredients and make vastly different meals throughout the week. Check out this idea for 10 ingredients, 10 Menus.
Patronize the same farmers. Get to know your farmers and learn about their produce. The farmer will eventually remember you and your loyalty could result in some cost saving. Maybe a free item here and there. My orange farmer insisted that I take an Oro Blanco grapefruit to try and it knocked my socks off. You may get the bulk pricing on all of your purchases, especially if you buy a wide variety of items.
Don’t be afraid to haggle. Some farmers will haggle back, others will not, but it never hurts to try. If they are firm on their price you know for next time.
Buy in bulk and share. Look for deals that yield a discount when purchasing multiple items. It could be 3 items/bunches for $5 instead of $2 individually. Herbs can come in a quantity that challenges you to finish before they go bad. Try sharing the excess with a friend or neighbor, if they do the same you will have more variety in your cooking arsenal.
Buy in-season and not the first week of the season. Usually the new arrivals are more expensive. I noticed that the price of cherries came down within 2 weeks of the season’s open.
We must hone in on our shopping, saving and growing skills since food prices are constantly on the rise. The latest upward pressure on food prices comes in 2013 from the current US drought. Please share some of your tips and tricks to saving money at farmers markets? – GreenUp! Guy