Before heading to the market...
- Get directions, check hours and days of operation.
- If possible, plan to walk, ride a bike, or take public transit to your farmers’ market!
- Bring your own bags or boxes! Although most farmer's market vendors have bags, it's friendlier to the environment if you bring your own reusable bags with handles.
- Did you know that each year, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide.; bllions end up as litter. Each reusable bag has the potential to eliminate an average of 1,000 plastic bags over its lifetime.
- Bring Cash: it's the easiest currency. Plan to pay with small bills and change. You will be paying at each farmer's stand.
- Bring your Farmers Market Coupons : If your or your family qualifies, you can receive coupons to redeem at farmer's markets for produce to supplement your meals. Look for the "Farmers' Market Coupons Accepted" sign at individual farmers' stalls, or ask the grower the coupons are accepted.
- Bring your EBT Card: Many farmers' markets accept EBT/ SNAP. Look for the signs or ask the market manager.
- Find out whatâ€™s in season : Learn when Massachusetts products are available:
- Make plans to preserve (freeze or can) larger quantities when fruits and vegetables are in season and plentiful. You'll appreciate your efforts when it's winter and you can savor the flavors of summer!
- Research recipes/make a list: Since you know what you’re likely to find at the market, you can do some meal planning and shop accordingly. This way, you'll know exactly what to look for and how much to buy.
- Dress Comfortably: Wear walking shoes and be prepared for rain or shine!
At the market..
- Take Your Time: Have fun browsing! Look at what everyone is offering before you begin buying. Talk to the growers about what is plentiful now and what is in season next.
- Ask Questions: Vendors and farmers are happy to share their knowledge and may suggest recipes and cooking tips.
- Experiment: Don't be afraid to try something new. You may discover a new fruit or vegetable.
- Bring the kids: They are more likely to eat a fruit or vegetable they've chosen. You could even give them an allowance and encourage them to pick something out and buy it themselves!
- Many kids have no idea where food comes from or how it looks in its unprocessed state. Seeing zucchini with blossoms attached, carrots with tops, or cauliflower with its green wrapper leaves gives them an idea of how vegetables grow.
Leaving the market/ When you get home...
- Go straight home so you can put away your purchases. Don't leave ripe berries, sweet corn, tender spinach—or anything—in the hot trunk of your car. If you can't go home right away, bring a cooler for the most delicate items.
- Properly store your fresh fruits and vegetables: Besides flavor, local fruit and vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals which can be maintained with proper storage including refrigeration.
- American families throw away 14% of the food they buy, often because it spoils.
- Learn new ideas for familiar and new fruits and vegetables: check online for information and recipes !