In last week’s post we talked about how you can make your fresh ingredients last up to a week longer with some simple storage techniques. If you haven’t read it yet, definitely head on over to the post to see how practicing smart-storage techniques can help save you both time and money. And, if you’re looking for another way to save money when purchasing produce, consider shopping at your local farmer’s market.
At first glance, it might seem like grocery shopping at a farmer’s market is more expensive than going to the grocery store, but that’s usually not the case! Purchasing produce straight from the farm often reduces charges you don’t even know you’re paying for when you shop at the grocery store. For instance, most farmers aren’t selling produce directly to the grocery store, but instead, sell to a wholesaler. Wholesalers then process and package the product, like bagging the lettuce, or washing the blueberries and packing them in a plastic container. All of this processing and packaging increases the cost even further. By the time the produce makes its way to the grocery store, the price has probably doubled (or more!) in order for everyone (the farmer, the wholesaler, and the grocery store) to make a decent profit.
While it’s no fun to hear this (heck, who wants to pay double for anything?), it’s also important to note that we pay for convenience. Grocery stores are open every day of the week, while most farmer’s markets are seasonal and only open for a few hours per week. But, if you can make it to your local farmer’s market over the summer, know that you’ll likely save a few dollars, and that you’ll be giving money directly to a local farmer.
Here are four simple ways you can stretch your dollar even more at a farmers market.
1. Ask for a Bulk Discount
While it’s not recommended to “haggle” with the farmers, most of the time they are more than willing to offer a bulk discount. To get the best deal, consider buying fruits and vegetables that you can preserve by freezing.
2. Shop at the End of the Day
Most farmers at the market want to go home empty handed. If you don’t have too specific of a list, wait until the market is almost over to go shopping and you might be able to get a “buy one get one” deal, or another type of discount.
3. Become a Regular
If you can, attend the market on a regular basis. Businesses enjoy attracting repeat customers, and are more likely to offer great deals or perks to their most loyal customers.
4. Offer to Help!
If you really want to save money, offer to help! Small farms are on an extremely tight budget. Many local farms are more than willing to provide their volunteers with complementary produce in exchange for some help at the market.
Another perk of going to the farmer’s market is that it has a little bit more fun built-in than just a regular trip to the grocery store. If you have to bring the kids along with you, this will definitely be a much more fun experience than pushing a giant cart in a crowded grocery store.
Do you shop at a farmer’s market? Let us know which one of these tips you’ll try in the comments below!