1: It’s not a supermarket experience
2: Get there early and do a circuit
3: Set a budget and carry cash
I know that I can get carried away on any shopping trip if I don’t have a budget that I am sticking to. Carrying cash will help you stick to it. Also, even though there are more and more handy ways for small vendors to offer cashless payment options, cash is usually just easier.
4: Take a different kind of list
5: Don’t be deterred by the high prices of artisan goods
6: Chit-chat is the point of farmers’ markets
The greatest difference between shopping at a farmers’ market and a supermarket is the opportunity for conversation. There are dozens of opportunities to talk. In many ways the chit-chat is the point of farmers markets – to get people talking about food, get them asking questions. In particular, get them asking questions of the producers whose work it is to feed us. This can be intimidating, especially if you are used to the somewhat anonymous experience of bright lights and self-serve scanning. It’s also intimidating for producers who might love plants and animals but don’t always enjoy people asking them questions about their work! Whenever you approach a stall holder do it with a great big smile and an air of curiosity and openess. Try asking:
- Is this all your own produce?
- Where is your farm?
- Do you know the farmers whose produce you’re selling?
- Are you an organic farmer? What’s the reason for that choice?
- What does organic/free range/biodynamic/pastured mean on your farm?
- How long have you been coming to these farmers markets?
- What have you got today that’s good? Tell me about what you’re selling today…
You’ll be surprised where these conversations can lead…hopefully to a full belly and a fairly rewarded farmer!