Summer Produce: Money-Saving Secrets of Your Local Farmers Market

Posted on 05/28/2013

Business is booming for farmers markets. As of August 2012 there were 7,864 farmers markets listed in the USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory, a 9.6 percent increase from 2011. Not only can you get incredibly fresh and healthy food at your local farmers market, you can do it on a budget with these money-saving secrets for stocking up on summer produce.

Learn How to Preserve
Since everything has its season, sometimes there can be an over-saturation in the market for a certain fruit or vegetable. If you are prepared to buy that item in bulk you can get a much better deal. Learn how to can or preserve food so it won't go to waste. Or at the very least, do some research on what you can freeze and what you can't.

Shop Weekdays
If your local farmers market is open during the week, try shopping then. It will be much less busy than a Saturday or Sunday which means the booth operator could be more willing to haggle or offer a bargain.

Join Forces
Do you have friends or neighbors who would also like some farm-fresh produce? Ask them to chip in $10-$20 and you may be able to make your money go further. It's the old "the more you buy, the more you save" trick, but as long as you're getting a quality product that you'll actually use it can be a great way to stretch a buck.

Ask for Discounted Items
Fruits and veggies have a limited shelf life, but if you're willing to eat what you buy quickly, ask if there are any discounted items that are nearly past their prime. The farmer may be so glad they're not going to waste he'll cut you a deal.

Shop Near Closing Time
You can't blame a farmer for not wanting to lug all that produce back home. Shop near the end of the day and you could be more likely to score a bargain. The early bird may get the worm, but you'll get to sleep in and you'll return home with money in your pocket.

By Alison Storm

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