Farmer's Markets: 6 Useful Tips When Shopping for the Best Produce
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Farmer's Markets: 6 Useful Tips When Shopping for the Best Produce

Looking to support local businesses while still enjoying fresh fruits and vegetables? You need to look no further than your local farmer's markets. Farmer's markets are for more than just fruits and vegetables. Many local gardeners and farmers alike come to farmers' markets to sell their freshly grown (and oftentimes local) produce. Shopping at a farmer's market means that you are supporting local farmers and helping them make a sustainable living for their families.

The food at farmer's markets is often fresher than that in grocery stores because it's straight from the farm and not shipped in from 1000s of miles away. Seniors in the Des Plaines, Elmhurst, Oak Brook, Park Ridge, and Arlington Heights areas who choose to shop at farmer's markets can support local farmers while also considering the following to spend their money in the most effective way possible.

6 Tips When Shopping at Farmer's Markets

Know What's in Season:

Understand what produce is in season before you go to the farmer's market to begin your shopping. Knowing what's in season will help you go with an idea of what you might want to buy when you get there. The produce will vary by the time of year and seasonality of available produce in your area. Knowing what is in season helps you expect to know what to find a lot of at the market.

Choose Whole Vegetables/Fruits:

Opt to purchase the entire fruit or vegetable when possible. It might be work to prepare the produce to eat. But this way you get the entire fruit or vegetable (more for your money). Whole fruits and vegetables also generally will store longer in your fridge. And will be kept in good shape for longer than vegetables/fruits that are already chopped up. 

You can often use the entire vegetable and get more for your money. Try sautéing beat or radish tops as a vegetable or a side to a meal. Carrot tops can be added to make soup stocks. Getting creative helps you get more for your money and reduce the amount of waste that you have from your produce.


Buy Whole Plants:

If you want to start a small home garden, you can often buy plants and herbs at farmer's markets. Rather than constantly buying herbs to cook with, buy the cilantro, basil, or parsley plant. Sometimes you might find tomato plants or other finds to add to your home garden as well. Many farmer's markets will sell seeds to plant in your home garden. Letting you grow your own vegetables from scratch. 

Check All the Stands Before Purchasing:

Shop around and look at all the different seller's products before you make a decision on what you will buy. Some farmers may have better prices or others may have fresher produce. Taking all of your options into account helps you buy the best product for the best price. Certain farmers may have produce that others don't have. So you also have a better chance of finding what you want.

Go Later in the Day:

Many farmers will make you a deal if you go later in the day. And they have produce that they want to sell before the market closes. If the market is from 9 am to 3 pm, consider going at 2 pm or so before they start packing up. But towards the end of the day when you might be able to get "leftovers" for a good deal. Saving money is always a plus, and you are helping the farmers get rid of the last bit of their produce so that they go home having made the money they need to care for their own families.

Bring Cash:

Many farmer's markets are small stands that are run by single families or small farms in your area. They may not be able to accept debit or credit cards. Coming with cash in hand helps you avoid disappointment and helps make it easy to purchase your produce and farm goods.

Farmer's markets are a great way to find the healthy produce that you should be consuming as you age in place. Taking all of your options at the farmer's market into account before purchasing helps you find the best deals and the best produce for a healthy diet as you eat well and support local farmers in the Greater Des Plains area


Farmer's Markets: 6 Useful Tips When Shopping for the Best Produce