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DLJ Produce

8 Tips to Explore a Farmer's Markets

Typically running from Memorial Day through Labor Day, farmer’s markets afford the opportunity to find fresh, local produce, homemade foods, and artisan crafts — all while supporting local growers and vendors. However, the more popular farmer’s markets can fall victim to congestion, long queues, and sellouts. If you want to get

1. Scout the Entire Market First

Many vendors have similar produce, meat, and fish. Walking around the entire market can help you find the best price and locate hard-to-find items and unique offerings.

2. See If Your Market Has Pre-Orders

Some farmer’s markets have entered the 21st century through prepayment and pre-orders. Check online to see if the market or individual vendors have pre-orders and skip the crowds and lines.

3. Arrive at Opening

Like Christmas shopping, popular items at the farmer’s market will sell out quickly. If you want to get the items you desire and beat the crowds simultaneously, arrive a few minutes before the market opens. Take this time to explore the market, take mental notes of what you want, and see the most popular items.

4. Bring Reusable Bags

Not every vendor has bags; if they do, they’re often plastic bags. By bringing your own reusable bags, you can easily carry your purchases around and limit pollution and waste.

5. Look for Irregular Produce

Irregular produce — fruits and veggies with spots, dull colors, or strange shapes — is often overlooked by your average market patron. As a result, vendors often struggle to sell it. But just by asking about it, you can wrangle a great deal. It may look odd, but the taste, nutrition, and freshness remain.

6. Wait for the Buzz To Die Down

If a vendor has a new product, unique produce, or a popular item, don’t head there immediately. Instead, wait for the buzz to die down. Oftentimes, a vendor will increase the price due to the buzz. Wait a week or two, and you should find that the price goes down, the lines are smaller, and the quality increases.

7. Bring Cash

Most farmer’s markets now accept debit or credit cards, but bring cash if you want to get discounts or negotiate a deal. An assortment of $1, $5, $10, and $20 should give you buying power and reduce the overhead costs of vendors.

8. Talk to Vendors and Growers

Establishing a relationship with local vendors and growers gives you the inside scoop on new items, the story behind the produce, and where it comes from. Strike up a conversation, and you may find some tips on how to buy in bulk, make early purchases, or discover other helpful information.

Shop at a Local Produce Store If You Can’t Get to the Market

At DLJ Produce, we know we provide local grocers throughout the country with farm fresh produce on a daily basis.  If it’s late fall, winter, or early spring, or you just can’t get to the farmer’s market over the weekend, you still have a viable alternative — your local produce store.

These stores offer fresh, locally-grown produce that supports local farmers. And with a great selection of fresh, nutritious, and seasonal fruits and veggies, you’ll taste the difference. Your culinary prowess is the only thing you’ll have to explore after that. Taste the amazing difference of fresh produce at your local grocer.