How to Shop at a Farmers Market

With a little preparation, you can get the most out of your local market.

You will need

  • A shopping list
  • A willingness to ask questions
  • Knowledge of local neighborhoods

Step 1 Make a shopping list of produce that’s in season, so that you have a guide as you shop the stalls.

Step 2 If you want the best selection, get there early. But if you’d rather score a deal, arrive late. Farmers don’t like to head home with extra inventory, so they often offer discounts as closing time approaches.

Step 3 Don’t come to the farmers market hungry – you’re more likely to impulse buy. Buy a snack at the market before you start shopping, if you’re starving.

Step 4 Walk around the whole market once without buying anything, so you can compare prices and quality. Often, a few vegetables and fruits will dominate, but their quality and prices can vary widely from vendor to vendor. Adjust your shopping list based on what is available.

Step 5 Make a second tour of the market, picking up whatever you’ve decided on.

Step 6 If you have a favorite fruit or vegetable that will be in season soon, ask a few of the vendors when they’re expecting their crop and whether they think this will be a good year for it. The more abundant the item, the less you can expect to pay for it.

Step 7 Hurry home so you can make a mouthwatering meal with all that farm-fresh produce!