How to Save on Your Farmers Market Purchases
Farmer’s markets are a great way to get local in season produce at a great price, if you keep a few tips in mind.
Also, look for a Farmers Market in your area on the Thrifty Michigan Map!
So, how do you take advantage of the finds at the farmer’s market?
~ Walk the whole market first.
~ Take a look and see where other people are making their purchases
~ Take a notebook with you. Make notes about the products as you walk. What is the quality of the produce? What are the prices like?
~ Know what’s on sale at the store and what the price is. There are benefits to buying at the farmer’s market, but if price needs to be your main concern, make sure you know where your price points are at.
~ Don’t wait to long to arrive if you want pretty selections. The best selection is in the morning. Many vendors pick right before coming to market.
~ Go later in the day if you want to haggle. Many vendors want to sell as much as possible so they don’t have to take it back home and risk it spoiling before they can sell it. (Thanks Wendy!)
~ If you are cooking or canning the produce instead of serving it on a tray for guests, ask for seconds at a reduced price. You can often save this way and once it’s cooked or canned any oddities are harder to spot. (Thanks Holly!)
~ Make your own selection whenever possible. Avoid letting the vendor just grab whatever is near them.
If you are on public assistance of any sort, make sure you take advantage of these bonuses:
~ Bridge Card recipients can “double up” at farmer’s markets (doesn’t begin until 7/1/13 in Michigan this year). One time per day you can visit a specified booth at the market. They will swipe your card for an amount you specify up to $20 and give twice that amount in tokens to spend at the market. Find a participating market.
~ You do not have to use all of your double up tokens in one visit. You are allowed to hold on to them to purchase in bulk at a later time. Though it’s suggested that you use them by 10/31/12 as they will roll to 2013 ONLY if the program gets renewed.
~ WIC recipients should ask about the “Project Fresh” vouchers. For each household member that qualifies for WIC, you can receive one booklet of (15) $2 vouchers ($30 per person) to use on fresh produce at participating vendors at farmer’s markets. The maximum number of books per family is now capped at 2 for 2013.
~ Market Fresh is the same program as Project Fresh, but for seniors. These vouchers are usually handed out at service and senior centers and are limited in number.
What other tips do you have for How to Save on Your Farmers Market Purchases?