Fresh, slightly charred corn on the cob, tomatoes so fresh and ripe
that even tomato-haters can’t resist a bite, and watermelon so sweet, no
one will miss ice cream. Well, that’s not entirely true -- ice cream
during the summer is still pretty much the best.
But all of these late-spring and summer treats can come at a premium
price. Luckily, one of the best things about summer is also one of the
most cost-effective -- farmers' markets!
1. There’s one near you! If you haven’t passed a farmers' market in your regular commute or are looking for something a little different, you can try the USDA’s website.
I used this directory and found a large market 10 miles away from my
house with more than 50 participating farmers. Small- and medium-sized
markets can be found using a Google search with your town’s name and
“farmers markets.” Don’t let living in a big city be an excuse -- even NYC has greenmarkets in the heart of the Big Apple!
2. Expand your horizons. Depending on the size of the market, there may be a lot more at the market than produce. You may find local honey,fresh eggs, homemade soaps, breads, fresh-cut flowers, pies, game meat, and even potted herbs and ice cream!
3. Best selection and price. Somewhat akin to
shopping at a yard sale, you must keep in mind that the best selection
will be early in the day and the best prices will be closer to closing
time. If you become a “regular,” participating farmers may work with you
on getting the best price or even put some of your favorite goodies to
4. Adventure and learning for children. No candy racks to tempt your children when you check out a market. For more adventure, try a “pick-your-own” farm. Check pickyourown.org to
locate a low-cost family outing. If at the end of the day your family
has fresh produce and worn-out children ready for bed, you’ve discovered
a bargain indeed!
5. Support your local economy. Take advantage of
items unique to your community. Prices vary, but since the farmer does
not pay for marketing, shopping carts, lighting, or as many employees as
a grocery store does, you are able to realize those savings.
6. Know before you go. Be sure to check what’s coming in season
before you head to the market, and you can get your kids excited about
what’s in season. You can even make a game out of having the kids spot
what’s new to the market, or their favorite fruit when it appears for
Do you shop at your local Farmers Market?
Do you ever take your kids to the farmers' market?
I like our farmers market. We go every other Saturday. When I was growing up, I would go with my grandparents every Tuesday during the summer. She used to can and jar so many things to be stored for the winter.