The farmers’ market is the best place to buy fresh produce. Not only is the produce newly picked and nutritious, but many NY farmers’ markets accept SNAP benefits. Now you are able to purchase fresh, healthy, affordable, locally grown foods for your family at your local farmers’ market with your EBT SNAP card. Make the most of your experience with these 6 savvy shopping tips.
- Don’t be shy.
It is rare that you are able to talk directly to the individual who grew your fruits and vegetables at the supermarket. At the farmers’ market, they are right there in front of you! Take advantage of this opportunity. Ask them any questions you might have ranging from how the produce was grown to what is expected to be sold next week. If you see an unfamiliar fruit or vegetable, ask. Learn what it is and how to prepare it. Local farmers have a great deal of knowledge about their produce and are usually more than willing to share.
- Shop early for selection.
If you need a specific item or are looking for the best quality produce, shop at your local farmers’ market in the morning. Farmers’ markets are usually less busy in the morning and you will have the opportunity to choose from the best of the best. If you don’t mind slightly bruised produce, many farmers offer deals on bruised or “ugly” fruits and vegetables.
- Bring your own bag.
Many markets do not provide bags or boxes to carry your produce. To avoid making multiple trips to the car or dropping your produce, bring a reusable bag. Not only does the bag carry your fruits and vegetables, but it also sends a sustainable message. Don’t forget a cooler on wheels if your market sells meat, milk, eggs and/or cheese.
- Examine each vendor.
Many farmers sell similar produce at the farmers’ market. Don’t purchase from the first vendor you see. Make an effort to walk around the market and compare prices of different fruits and vegetables. Check the quality of the produce and if there are any specials, then make your way back to the best stands and purchase. It helps to have a plan in mind before heading to the market so you can make the most of your SNAP benefits.
- Be prepared.
The vast variety of produce at the farmers’ market can make decisions difficult. In order to have the most efficient experience, take the time to plan ahead. Make an effort to plan meals around what is in season and purchase the ingredients accordingly. Like the supermarket, your trip will be more effective if you bring a list. The list provides great direction for your shopping experience but make sure to have some wiggle room. You never know what you will find at the farmers’ market and you want to be able to purchase fresh produce if it comes early or try something new.
- Try new things.
Although you may only go to the farmers’ market for some essentials, have some fun and try something new. Many farmers sell unusual produce that cannot be found at the supermarket. Ask the farmer the best way to prepare it, be spontaneous and try it. It may make your visits to the farmers’ market even more enjoyable.
Share these tips with your friends and family and encourage them to shop at NY Farmers’ Markets and buy local.
Check out what is being picked this week*:
Beets, Kale, Lettuce, Swiss Chard, Spinach, Strawberries, Radishes, Rhubarb & Peas
*Availability will vary by market due to differences in growing zones.
Recipe of the week:
Turn your beets into a crunchy snack! Check out the recipe here.