1. Get there when the market opens. This will give you plenty of time to visit each booth, and you can be sure you aren’t going to miss anything because they’ve sold out. These are homemade, handmade and homegrown-–once they sell out, you will have to wait til next week!
2. Ask Questions. These vendors are proud of their products! Ask them questions about who they are, where they’re from, and what they have. Find out if they attend other markets in the area, that way you can find them when you need them! Are you trying to grow something and are having a hard time? Ask if they have any tips! (And on Saturday mornings, you can even chat with the Master Gardeners.) Get to know them and connect with your local farmers and artisans.
3. Bring a tote bag. There are plenty of choices for this. You can bring something you already have, you can make something special just your Farmers Market goodies, or you can purchase one there! (Better yet, win one of the two tote bag giveaways this week!) You want your hands to be free to eat, touch, pick up, eat, grab and eat. Which brings me to my next point…
4. Come Hungry. Not only are there samples that you will want to try, and tons of fresh produce, but there is food! You could easily eat dinner with all of the tasty samples and food booth goodies!
5. Make the round more than once. Walk around, and walk around again! There is plenty to see and plenty to miss.
6. Get the recipe of the month. You can find it at the information booth or the chef’s Fresh Kitchen in Visalia. Each month the Fresh Kitchen chef creates a recipe using our seasonal items. There are printed recipes for you to take before you go shopping so you can make sure and get what you need.
7. Bring small bills. Your vendors will appreciate this and you won’t wipe out all of their change.
8. Make a list, but plan to add to it! If there is something you have to buy, maybe for your recipe of that month, make a list–you don’t want to forget anything. But don’t stick to it! Buy more! If you see someone has beautiful huge nectarines that you just can’t pass up, buy them! You can always find a way to eat more fruits and veggies, and who doesn’t need that?!
9. Keep a small notepad and pen in your tote. Whether you’re jotting down a tip or writing where you bought those huge nectarines, a bit of paper comes in handy. If you get home and love that tomato, you’ll want to be able to get it from the same booth again!
10. Finally, be prepared for the weather. The last thing you want to return home with is a sunburn. Keep a sunhat, some sunscreen, and maybe even an umbrella in that tote bag and protect yourself from the weather; you will enjoy the Farmers Market come rain or shine!
Are there any other tips you’d like to share for getting the most out of our Farmers Market?