Suggestions for Shopping at a Farmers' Market
Paying For Your Produce
Cash is the easiest as most markets do not take checks or credit or debit cards. However, did you know that many farmers' markets in Pennsylvania participate in a WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) Farmers Market Nutrition Program? If your family qualifies, you can receive coupons good at farmer's markets that help supplement your meals.
Containers and Shopping Bags
Many farmers' markets have bags and boxes, but it may be easier if you bring your own bags with handles. Keep a few extra bags in your car for those unexpected shopping stops. If you are not returning home right away, have coolers with ice packs in your car. This will ensure your produce arrives home fresh and ready to eat.
Most markets are not in buildings and may only have an awning or canvas roof. If it is a large market and you plan on spending a lot of time shopping, be prepared with sunscreen and maybe an umbrella to keep off the sun or rain. Comfortable clothes and shoes will make your trip more pleasant. Markets are usually open rain or shine. If you take children along, make sure you have drinks for them. Children love to help pick out the fruits and vegetables and learning about fresh produce teaches them the importance of healthy eating habits.
Go Early -- Go Late!
In the hot summer, morning can be the most pleasant time to shop. You'll find the best selection if you show up early too. But just before closing time, you may find some of the best deals even though the selection may be limited later in the day.
Take Your Time -- Try Something New!
Have fun browsing and looking around. Don't be afraid to try something new. You may discover a new favorite fruit or vegetable. Shopping at a farmers' market means that you will get the best, freshest produce available.
If you see something unfamiliar, don't hesitate to ask questions. Market vendors love to share their knowledge and can even give you recipes and cooking tips. The growers know their products, so if you have questions on preparation or storage, or just want to know how something is grown, ask away!