The ability to buy lots of fresh produce is one of my favorite things about summer because I love fresh fruits and vegetables. Sure, you can purchase produce in the grocery store all year long, but once summer arrives, it seems like there are more choices for fruits and vegetables and they appear fresher, at least to my untrained eyes.
When I was a kid, I never really thought about where the produce came from in the summer, but when I moved to college I quickly realized that farmer’s markets were the best way to get fresh, delicious produce at great prices. I would go to the farmer’s market near my apartment almost every Saturday morning to stock up. But once I moved back to my rural hometown after graduation, I really started to feel the pang of missing out on the opportunities offered by farmer’s markets. Luckily in the past year, my community has started their own farmer’s market and I love to go every chance I get!
If you also enjoy fresh produce in the spring and summer, one of the best ways to buy it in the is at your local farmer’s market. If you haven’t checked out your local farmer’s market yet, you should because there are lots of ways to save money at a farmer’s market. Here are some of my favorite ways to utilize a farmer’s market to save money.
Check Grocery Stores Sales
Look over the sale flyer for your favorite grocery store before you go to the farmer’s market. Once you know what is on sale at the grocery store, you will know what to buy or not buy at the farmer’s market so you can save as much money as possible on your grocery bill.
Related Read: How to save money at the grocery store without coupons
Window Shop First
Take a stroll around all of the booths at the farmer’s market before buying anything. Doing so will help you to know where to go for the best deals and which booths to avoid altogether. You’ll also be able to get the best quality items if you don’t buy the first basket of fruits and vegetables that you see.
Make sure you have plenty of smaller bills in your wallet, such as ones, fives and tens. If you can pay with exact change, it will be easier and faster for the producer who just may thank you by throwing in an extra item or two, helping you get even more for your money. Some vendors may not take credit or debit cards at all, and those who do may charge an extra fee for paying by card.
Planning to make Jelly or Pies? Ask sellers at the farmer’s market if they can give you a bulk discount. Then take it home to wash and prepare it before either using it right away or freezing it so nothing goes to waste.
Buy In Season
Do a little homework ahead of time so you know what types of fruits and vegetables are in season. Produce that is in season will be fully ripe, will taste better, and usually costs less than what is not in season.
Buy Picked Over Produce
Although going to the farmer’s market early is a good idea to get the best choices and variety, produce that has been passed over is often just as good as the produce that sold more quickly. In fact, produce left toward the end of the day will likely be at a lower price because farmers don’t want to take it back home. If you see some fruit that is bruised or a little lopsided, it will still freeze or can just as well.
Get to Know Your Farmer
Talk to the vendors and build up a relationship with them. Offer to trade goods or services you have in exchange for some of their products. Then when you go back, buy from those same farmers again. Let them know what items you bought previously that you loved. They appreciate your feedback and love to know when people like what they are selling. It also gives them more incentive to give you a good deal if you rant about their great produce to your friends and family.
Don’t Worry About the Weather
If it’s stormy outside, take an umbrella and go anyway. Similarly, if it’s really hot outside, you might get a really good deal on produce since farmers could be worried about spoilage from the heat. Plus, there will likely be fewer shoppers out so you can probably negotiate more on prices too.
Shopping for summer produce doesn’t have to kill your budget. Use these 8 ways to save at the farmer’s market to get your fill of the summer produce you love and still keep a little green in your wallet.
Does your community have a farmer’s market? How do you save at the farmer’s market?
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