How Shopping at Farmers Markets May Help Reduce Grocery Bills
Shopping at a farmers market may be a way to help support local growers, but you may see some cost savings, too. Here are some money-saving tips to consider when it comes time to shop for produce and other goods at a local farmers market.
Get Food Straight from the Farm
More than 8,000 farmers markets are registered across the United States, according to the Department of Agriculture, which maintains a searchable directory. Shopping at one near you may help you reduce food waste and save you money, says Consumer Reports. That’s because the produce is often freshly harvested and brought straight to the market. Fresh produce may last longer than grocery store versions because the food hasn’t been stored or transported long distances, Consumer Reports explains. As a result, you may have more time to eat it before it spoils.
Keep in mind that farmers markets typically feature in-season produce, so if you’re looking to buy an out-of-season fruit or vegetable, you may not find it from a local farmer or you may pay more for it, says U.S. News and World Report. But if you opt for in-season produce, farmers are more likely to have it in abundance and may offer it at a competitive price, adds U.S. News and World Report.
Walk through the farmers market to review prices before buying anything, suggests U.S. News and World Report. If multiple vendors are selling the same items, you can select the one that best fits your budget. If your goal is to get the best possible price on your produce, you may want to review current grocery store prices before heading to the farmers market, U.S. News and World Report adds.
Ask for Discounts
Keep an eye out for imperfect looking produce. Some farmers market vendors may offer a discount on dinged fruits and vegetables, Reader’s Digest says.
You may be able to save a bit by negotiating prices with vendors, especially if you’re purchasing multiple items, according to U.S. News and World Report. Some sellers will offer discounts on remaining products just before closing time, adds U.S. News and World Report. It may not hurt to ask.
If you have some extra time, ask if you can volunteer at your local farmers market or help out a specific vendor in exchange for some produce, suggests Reader’s Digest.
You may be drawn to a farmers market if you want an alternative source for freshly picked produce. With a little preparation, you may be able to help support a local farmer while saving a little money in the process.
Originally published on August 23, 2013.