Now that it’s almost summer, farmers’ markets are popping up all over the city. Many farmers’ markets accept SNAP and Bounty Bucks. The Bounty Bucks program matches every you spend at farmers’ markets up to $10, so it’s a great option for helping your family eat more fresh food. For a farmers’ market beginner, the options can be overwhelming. Here’s a simple guide for getting the most bang for your buck and getting some truly delicious and healthy fresh food involved in your family’s diet.
- Have a plan: Don’t just go browse, shop at a farmers’ market the same way you would at the grocery store – with a list and a budget!
- Do a loop first: Many of the booths will have similar produce. Walk around the market to see what’s available before you start to buy so you can compare prices.
- Think about how much to buy: Some farmers’ market goods can be frozen or stored, like jam or bread. However, a lot of the fresh fruits and vegetables will go bad within a week or so, so don’t buy more than you need or you’ll end up throwing some away!
- Timing: Go early for the best selection or late for possible discounts. Since vendors don’t want to bring their produce back at the end of the day, they sometimes lower prices before the market closes.
- Know what’s in season: Produce that’s in-season will be more affordable. Here’s a guide to remember what’s in season!
- Buy “seconds:” Farmers have a harder time selling fruit that’s “ugly” or doesn’t look perfect. Check with vendors to see if they have any available for a lower price.
- Do your research: Look online beforehand to find the farmers’ market that’s right for you and your budget. Some markets accept EBT and SNAP and many of them are open on different days of the week.
Some other tips:
- Bring small bills: many of the vendors can’t make change or accept credit cards
- Bring your own bag and/or cooler
- Take advantage of free samples to try new foods before you buy them
- Talk to the vendors and farmers, they’ll have great tips for new ways to use their produce!
Markets to try out
- Boston Copley Square Farmers’ Market
- Ashmont/Peabody Square Farmers’ Market
- Roslindale Village Farmers’ Market
- Jamaica Plain Farmers’ Market
- And others!
(Images courtesy of BostonFarmersMarkets.org)