Shop Smart at the Farmers’ Market!
The farmers’ market can be intimidating and a little overwhelming at first. What is in season? Can I bring my dog or children? Do I have to pay in cash? Can I use SNAP benefits to buy food from vendors? How many samples can I really eat?
No matter how many questions you have, taking a trip to the farmers’ market is worth your time. If you know a bit about what to expect, your shopping experience will be easier!
“Shopping at a farmers’ market is good for you!” says Molly Costigan, the program manager of The Happy Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre®. “Your family will enjoy the freshest and most nutritious produce because of the shorter travel distance from farm to market. When you buy produce from a farmers’ market you can also talk to the farmer and get clear information about their growing practices. Many farmers are certified organic, or use organic growing methods. Some markets accept and double SNAP and WIC benefits, which makes it even more affordable to shop at the markets, and to make this investment in your family’s health!”
Here are some tips and tricks to help make your trip to the farmers’ market a success!
- Before you go to the farmers’ market, take time to prepare. Make a list of food you want to buy based off of your meal plan for the week. It will save you time and money!
- You may also want to research which produce is in season, that way you’ll know what to expect at the farmers’ market and can decide which recipes to cook that week. For example, if you know asparagus is in season, you might want to plan to make some Roasted Asparagus with Salmon, or an Asparagus Soup with Chickpeas.
- Decide what time of day you would like to go to the farmers’ market. If you go earlier, you have access to the best selection fresh produce and goods, but if you go later in the day, some of the vendors may offer a discount so they don’t have to leave the market with the leftover produce. Many of these farmers make a living out of selling these foods, so don’t expect or ask for bigger discounts. Additionally, markets tend to be a little less crowded right when they open, or right before closing.
- Bring the whole family! The farmers’ market is a fun outing for all ages. Ask your kids to help you pick out produce or relax and listen to live music.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you don’t know what something is, if you don’t know how to cook it, or if you don’t know if it is ripe, ask the vendors because they are usually experts.
Want to learn more about shopping at a farmers’ market on a budget or how to use your SNAP benefits? Watch our bilingual video series!
Have questions about nutrition, fitness, or general wellness? Call a Living Healthier Coach for free to have them answered: 1-(844)-262-6224. Visit yourtexasbenefits.com to learn more about SNAP benefits and to see if your family can receive assistance.