Farmers’ Market: Take the Family and Make the Most of Your Visit
Farmers’ Markets Opening
Farmers’ Market season is here! The Pioneer Valley boasts thirty farmer’s markets –and growing–with at least one open each day of the week. Most of these markets celebrate opening day sometime between late April and early June. Click here to find the farmers’ market nearest you.
Busy farmers’ markets are a great opportunity for farmers. By selling direct to consumers, farmers can take home the full price of the products they sell. In return, consumers have access to a wide variety of farm-fresh produce and other goods. Thanks to several state and federal programs, and the efforts of community groups and market managers, farmers’ markets are more and more accessible to low-income shoppers, as well. For a list of farmers’ markets that accept WIC coupons, food stamps, and farmer’s market coupons for seniors, click here.
Every dollar spent at the farmers’ market is a dollar re-invested in the local economy. Markets are also a great place to spend your lunch hour or your Saturday morning. Many markets are now adding to the festive feeling by offering live entertainment, cooking demonstrations, art exhibits, activities for children, and more! This is also your chance to ask your farmers questions–if they grow it best, they’ll know it best. Ask them for advice on recipes, storage, and picking the ripest produce. This will also give you a chance to ask the farmer how the product is grown and any other questions or concerns you may have
Making the Most of your Farmers’ Market Visit
Navigating your way around a farmers’ market can be enjoyable and rewarding, or incredibly overwhelming. In order to make your next trip to the farmers’ market a little better, we’ve put together a few tips:
- Go Early. Getting to the market when it opens will give you access to the best produce before everything is picked over. Some stands may sell out of an item before the market is done, so timeliness is important.
- Take a Walk. When you first arrive, take a moment to walk the entire length of the market. This will give you a chance to take a look at what everyone has to offer before buying. You can compare prices for the best deal and you may find things that aren’t even on your list.
- Bring a Bag. Many farmers offer plastic bags for the produce you buy, but if you shop around at multiple stands, you may end up with too many bags to handle. Solve that by bringing your own larger canvas bag to fit all of your goods.
- Take Cash. Many farmers only accept cash at the farmers’ market, so come prepared. If you can, bring smaller bills–no one wants to break a fifty for two tomatoes when a line is forming.
- Ask Questions. If you don’t know what something is, ask. Don’t be shy about asking the farmer and other shoppers for cooking tips. You just may come across your new favorite food–or at least an adventure. Feel uncomfortable asking the farmer? Look for the Farmers’ Market Manager to answer any questions you have and even introduce you to the farmers.
- Enjoy Yourself. Stop and enjoy the sights and sounds of the market. Farmers’ markets are a great place to get to know your farmers and neighbors. Take a moment to relish in the bounty of local agriculture.