Farmers Markets are a great place to shop and support the local economy.
If you're venturing out to buy fresh produce, Farmers Market offer a lot of advantages. To take full use of those advantages, the Frugal Yankee has prepared some tips and ideas. Right now local produce is plentiful and most communities now support a Farmers Market. With a cornucopia of fruits and veggies, finding the tastiest can be challenging and where to find them can be confusing.
These days the buzz is all about eating locally.Â Food shipped in from across the country and even across the seas consumes energy for transportation. Also there is a disconnect between where the food is grown and where it is eaten. As many critics have decried, the process of growing these foods are often at odds with how we think our food is produced. Just take a listen to our podcast with the documentary film director of FOOD INC to get a sense of what they are discussing. However you fall on that debate, the buying of locally produced food, supports the local economy in many ways. However, the best reason for eating locally-grown food is it tastes so good.
Locating a nearby Farmers Market is not difficult. Below are a number of links. A Google search with the town or county will also yield results. If all else fails, call the town hall. Some complain the hours are not convenient. Work, chores may get in the way. The Frugal Yankee suggests look for one with hours convenient for you. Most regional Farmers Markets avoid conflicting with each other. This makes finding convenient hours easier.
A distinction should be made between a Farmers Market and a farm stand. The Farmers Market is a collection of many farmers gathered together for one brief time a week. A farm stand is run by a small farmer selling crops or may even include established products from other growers. Their hours are more store-like.Â Â
Yet no matter if you decide on Farmer Markets or select a farm stand to do your shopping, in most cases you will be paying more. These places cannot compete with volume purchasers like a chain supermarket. However the price you pay will go directly into the local economy which has benefits, but you will also be assured of fresher food and when ti comes to health, freshness does count.
Here are a few Farmers Market tips:
â€¢ Bring your own shopping bags, preferably a re-useable one.
â€¢ Bring cash in small bills. Youâ€™ll be buying from multiple stands.
â€¢ The best deals are items in season. Â
â€¢ Ask questions. This is one of the fun parts. When was this picked? Is it from your farm?
â€¢ Find a vendor you like and start a relationship. They can give you insight into deals and best crops. You can also make special requests. For example, if you want to make some peach jam, getting them to bring "seconds" will save you money.
â€¢ Be sure you ask where the source is. Some vendors will provide produce from as far away as Canada.
â€¢ Bring the kid & get them involved. If the non-veggie eater gets to pick the peas out, they just may start eating more of them.
â€¢ Good farmers not only grow the produce, they know how to prepare it as well. Ask for recipes especially if there is something new tickling your fancy.
â€¢ Keep a large cooler in your car with ice. Put the produce in that to keep cool either on the way home or if you stay is longer than expected.
â€¢ Going early means the fresher the produce.
â€¢ If you're getting food stamps, many farmers will take them. When you think about it, isn't that one of the best possible uses of them?
â€¢ Going later usually means better deals items. It is better to sell than to pack them up, store them and then bring the out again.
Enjoying fresh food grown by local farmers is one of the joys of a New England summer. The food tastes great and the trip to the farmers market is an adventure for the senses. Eating well and supporting the community is as good as it gets. Enjoy!
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There are a bunch of links on Farmers Markets on the Frugal Yankee web site.
From traditional tips to savvy perspectives, the Frugal Yankee knows how to enjoy life and spend less. Find out more by going to FrugalYankee.com. While you're there, sign up for the Frugal Yankee Newsletter, tips, factoids, jokes and more.
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