Start Slow. When you first arrive at the market, take your time to walk around, see what is available and what the prices are. Usually there is more than one vendor selling a product and prices can vary greatly. Do make sure when comparing prices that you are taking into consideration production methods and package sizes.
Bring reusable bags and cash. Bring large cloth or net shopping bags to consolidate purchases. And it’s great for the environment. You may want to bring a cooler with a cold pack for your trip home, especially if you plan on purchasing greens, meat, dairy and/or eggs at the market. Old baby and toddler carts can make good shopping carts too. The Pearl Famers’ Market will have an atm provided by BOK available, but it will help if you have small bills and change since you will be paying at each individual farmer’s stand.
Talk. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. If you don’t know what it is – ask! The average consumer is only familiar with a handful of fruit and vegetables. To produce vegetables year round a farmer may grow 70 different crops! The fastest way to become an expert is to ask the experts.
Plan ahead and be flexible. Market produce is as fresh as it gets and should be eaten soon. So it helps to sketch out your meals and come somewhat prepared. However, you will need to leave a bit of wiggle room for the tomatoes you didn’t expect to be available so soon or the fresh herbs you’ve never tried before. Experiencing new things is part of the fun!
Buy in bulk. If you decide to bargain for a better price, it will be best received in bigger quantities. You will enjoy the best flavors and best prices when you purchase lots of whatever is at its harvest peak. Think it’s too much? Freezing, canning, and drying are some of the ways to save seasonal tastes for later on.
Go early or go late. For the best selection, go early. For the best deals, go late. Popular items will go early, especially if the vendor has a limited supply. Towards the end of the evening, the farmers are more likely to cut you a deal so they don’t have to pack up and cart the leftovers back home.
Have fun. Enjoy the farmer’s market experience with the whole family. With free music and plenty of room for Fido to play makes it a great time for everyone.