Christine is sharing her tips for getting the best deals at Farmers' Markets:
Farmer’s Markets have an amazing atmosphere. The one where I live has not only produce, but local meat, flowers, baked goods, cheeses and even eggs. There are also cut flowers and small food trucks that line the market. I love that some of these food trucks are only available at the market. The air is filled with the fragrances of the fresh food and the sweet sound of street musicians.
While Farmer’s Markets are always great to shop at, there are some things there that are more expensive than in stores and some that are amazing deals. If you have never been to one, you may not know how to get the best deals or even where to begin. It can be a pretty chaotic environment with so much to see. In this post, I am going to show you how to get the best deals on items at these markets as well as what to avoid.
10 Tips for Getting the Best Deals at Farmers' Markets
1. Make sure you know store prices. Before going, check the weekly circular to find out prices on some of the items you may desire to purchase. This way you will know if you are getting a deal in the first place or if the item is heavily market up.
2. Either go very early or late in the day. Going early, you might be able to snag a deal on slightly damaged produce that was damaged on the way to the market. By going late, you might be able to negotiate a good price as merchants are looking to get rid of stuff late in the day so they don’t have as much waste or stuff to pack up.
3. Similar to going to the store, you should create a list of items you are hoping to buy. This will cut down on spontaneous purchases for items you don’t have a plan for and could go to waste.
4. Try new things! On the other hand, part of the fun of going to a Farmer’s Market is the ability to try new things. I suggest asking the farmer how to prepare something you have never made and are unsure about so that you don’t let it go to waste. Wasted food, no matter how cheap, is wasted money.
5. Before you go, make sure you know what is in season. You can get the best deals on produce at it’s peak.
6. Generally speaking, skip cheeses unless the price compares to store prices. While it is fun to buy local cheese varieties, it can also be pretty costly as well.
7. Although cheese may be a bit over-priced, milk and eggs are usually cheaper. Try to negotiate in bulk on these if you can use them. Many dairy venders are looking to get rid of product because it does not have a long shelf life.
8. Flattery works in this business. If you see some beautiful produce, tell the farmer. He or she may be willing to let you haggle them if they feel you will really appreciate it.
9. Shop with others. You will find it much easier to get a good deal on bulk if you can do it. With others, you can split the cost and split the product when you leave the market. Savings all around!
10. Ask if the vendors need help. They may be willing to barter with you for time if you are willing to help them set up, pick fruit from their orchards or help weed their gardens.