5 Tips on Making the Most of Your Local Farmers’ Market Visit

Maine winters can sometimes seem too long and the summers too short.  For this reason, it is important to enjoy all this beautiful season has to offer!  In peak season – July, August, and September – you can find prices comparable to those in the grocery store.  Visiting your local farmers’ market is a great way to get outside, support local growers, and enjoy healthy, delicious food.  Here are five tips to help you make the most out of your farmers’ market visit:

  1. Plan ahead and be flexible
cardboard box of red and green stalks of swiss chard and some beets with stems.

Think about what recipes or meals you want to make before shopping and make a list.  Be prepared with a list but remind yourself that if a cheaper option is available, try buying that instead.  For example, if you cannot find kale, you can substitute Swiss chard or collard greens instead and use any extras in other creative ways.  For example, add some of that extra chard to a smoothie or stir fry.

 Not sure what’s in season?  Check out this chart: http://www.mainefarmersmarkets.org/shoppers/whats-in-season/.

 

  1. “Window shop” first

When you first get to the farmers’ market, take some time to walk around and visit all of the vendors to see what is for sale, and at what prices.  Identify the items you are interested in.  If you do not trust your memory, take some notes.  Then, on your second pass through, purchase the best deal for you!

Farmer and customer talking in front of greenhouse full of leafy green vegetables

 

  1. Talk to the farmers

They are friendly folk! Not sure the name of a type of produce they are selling or how to cook it? Ask! Farmers are experts on the food they grow and can give advice on how to cook and store the food they sell.

 

 

  1. Maine Harvest Bucks Logo with image of Maine EBT cardUse your SNAP/EBT benefits and Maine Harvest Bucks

SNAP/EBT cards are accepted at many farmers’ markets and some also offer Maine Harvest Bucks to help you get more for your dollar.  Check out this site to find a market near you:

http://www.mainefarmersmarkets.org/shoppers/markets-that-accept-ebt-cards/

Find the info booth at the market and start shopping!

       5. Enjoy your trip!

The market isn’t just for shopping – make an event out of going to the farmers’ market.  Meet up with friends or family for a picnic, find activities for kids, bring your dog, and dance to live music.

Find a farmers’ market close to you: http://www.mainefarmersmarkets.org/

Learn about Maine Harvest Bucks at farmers’ markets: http://www.maineharvestbucks.org/maine-harvest-bucks-at-farmers-markets/

woman smiling while shopping at a busy farmers' market
Marissa Rublee

Marissa Rublee

Nutrition Educator at Maine SNAP-Ed
Marissa, a born and raised Mainer, loves all the state has to offer, especially crisp coastline and sweet blueberries. She grew up spending much of her time outdoors, camping and hiking (and still does!), driving her to want share her enthusiasm for wellness with anyone she could. While her favorite food is lobster, more often than not, you’ll see her eating fruit!
Marissa Rublee

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