What You Should Know Before Shopping At A Farmers Market

You’ve decided to remove all processed foods from your home and buy more fruits and vegetables. After reading my How To Save Money On Groceries article, you decide to explore a local farmers market. I live in a small town in Pennsylvania where almost everyone has visited a farmers market at least once in their lifetime. If you never have, don’t worry! Read below for my tips on how to shop at a farmers market and for a list of what I typically buy for a week.

1. Plan

Decide what meals you’ll be making for the week and make a list of ingredients. Buy what you can at the market. Trust me, this will be cheaper than buying everything at a grocery store. Read my Five Steps To Meal Prep article to get started.

2. Shop Around

If you’re at a market with multiple stands, shop around to see which stands provide the best quality food for the best price. Once you begin to shop there often, you’ll know which stands to shop at and which ones to avoid.

3. Shop Really Early or Really Late

If you want first dibs on pretty produce, shop when the market opens. If you want cheaper produce, shop later in the day. If you make many smoothies, who cares how ugly those berries and bananas look, right? Sometimes I can get 10–15 bananas for $1 if I go late enough.

4. Ask Questions and Build Relationships

Talk to the farmers. They’ll know what’s in season and when produce is ripe enough to eat. One day, a farmer saved me his last batch of apples since he knew I’d make my way in that evening. Another farmer even taught me how to cook spaghetti squash!

5. Spend Your Small Bills and Change

Typically at a farmers market you can buy produce items for a couple of dollars, so use up all of the change you have. Don’t save it for vending machines!

6. Bags and Carts

Bring a large tote bag or a small shopping cart. You’ll end up buying a lot of produce and will want to avoid multiple trips to your car.

Here’s a list of what I usually buy for two people for a week…

8–10 apples

6–8 bananas

6 avocados

7 lemons

2 bunches of broccoli

1 bunch of cauliflower

1 bunch of asparagus

1 spaghetti squash

1 lb of spinach or kale

6 sweet potatoes

Depending on the season I’ll buy 2–3 items from the list below:

4 grapefruits

4 mangos

4 peaches

4 pears

2 oranges or 6 clementines

1 watermelon

1 cucumber

4 kiwis

Mixture of berries or cherries

Now for the answer to your main question… How much does all of this cost? I’ll typically spend between $30-$40. In a grocery store this would cost me almost double the amount.

I hope you venture out and explore the wonderful world of farmers markets and enjoy your yummy produce!

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