I Got Free Food from the Farmer’s Market

Ah, farmer’s market. A lovely and quaint place. Soak up all the good and friendly vibes, both from the farmers coming to share the fruits of their labor and the appreciators of fresh, homemade food.

I want to share with you how I got free food and good deals at the farmer’s market.

Photo by MILKOVÍ on Unsplash

1) Go an hour before closing.
 This is the most well-known tip. When the vendors are packing up, they might offer deals because some goods cannot be brought home. Keep an ear out and listen for those savings!

2) Ask for deals.
 I approach different stalls and ask, “Might you have any produce that you would be otherwise throwing away that I could buy for cheap?”

This method has proved wildly successful. I approached a kind and generous grape vendor, Jose, in this way. He had a huge box of single grapes that were mostly in perfect condition. I’m honestly not sure why he was even throwing them away, but he told me to take whatever I wanted for free. The rest would be used as compost on his farm. I ended up walking away with nearly 2 pounds of beautiful, fresh grapes for free!

At a mushroom vendor, I asked the same question. He offered me $2 off a bag of beautiful maitake and king trumpet mushrooms, and I took it!

3) Look for boxes of scraps (that are perfectly fine and edible).
 
Walking around, I would see boxes of lettuce or carrot tops pulled off. I approached these vendors, and I asked, “Can I have those?” The answer was almost always yes. To them, these are meager scraps. But to me, the carrot tops become a nutritious pesto, and the lettuce leaves can be ripped into a salad or eaten as lettuce cups. They were beautiful and in great condition.

One scrap box even had peppers in them, which had some bad spots. Simple solution: cut them away. The rest of the peppers were beautiful and edible, and I ended up roasting them in the oven and turning them into a pepper and cauliflower soup to have for dinner.

A tip one vendor told me was to say that the food is for my pet bunny if the vendors ask. They technically aren’t allowed to give the food to people, which is understandable.

These are my tips for farmer’s market deals. The main thing takeaway is: 
You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. If you don’t try, you’ll never know.

I am grateful to the generous spirit of the kind humans I interacted with at the farmer’s market. In the end, a lot of the food was free and will feed me for a week, but I will not take for granted the generosity that was shown to me. I will give back to the community, and perpetuate the cycle of good karma. Energy flows throughout our world, from human to human. It is neither created nor destroyed. I was shown a great deal of kindness, and I am forever grateful to these kind souls for that.