As the farmers market starts back up, here are some pointers to help you shop

Published 6:28 am Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Time for fresh food

 Although the weather pattern says otherwise, spring has in fact sprung. Since it’s officially the start to the farmers market season, I’d like to invite you to join us 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays in the Danville High School parking lot from April through October to shop for local foods and products.

There is a common misconception that shopping at the farmer’s market is more expensive than shopping elsewhere. I’m here to tell you that shopping the market doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are some tips to avoid overspending at the market while getting the freshest produce available and supporting local farmers.

Get organized: Start with a list. Just like shopping at a grocery store, make a list of the items you need before you go to the market. Buy produce that is in season. Not only is it at its peak of freshness, but this is also the time when it is most abundant, which can result in lower prices. It doesn’t get any better than that.

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Eye on the money: Budget an amount for the farmers market and shop with cash. Shopping with cash can help curb impulse buying. However, you may want to budget in a few extra dollars to try something new. Keep in mind that small bills help growers make change easier. At our farmer’s market, you can use credit or debit cards, EBT, SNAP and WIC benefits and senior vouchers. Now that’s what I call good service. Be sure to ask about the Double Dollars program as an added benefit. The Farmer’s Market will double your dollars when you use your EBT or SNAP benefits at the market.

Quantity control: Since the produce is picked at the peak of freshness, it may not have as long of a shelf life as produce bought at a store. Unless you plan on freezing or canning your excess produce, buy only the quantity of a particular item that you need for the next few days. If you plan on freezing or canning a large amount of a particular product for later, you can ask if the vendor will give a bulk discount. If you have questions about canning or freezing fresh produce properly I happen to know just the person to help you with that. Call me at (859) 236-4484 or swing by the Boyle County Extension Office for some free publications and instruction on food preservation.

Time is of the essence: Depending on your needs, you may either want to shop the market when it first opens or near closing time. If you want the best selection or are worried the vendors will run out of a particular item, shop early. Shop about 30 minutes before closing if you are looking for deeper discounts. Often, vendors may mark down some items to avoid bringing them home.

Choice picks: It’s pretty early in the season so you may be wondering what you can find at the market this month. Some things you might see at the farmer’s market in April include asparagus, greens, and radishes. Don’t forget about the local handmade items such as soaps, scrubs, knit and/or crochet items and much more. Our market is unique because there is such a variety of items you can find there. 

We also have meats and farm eggs. Our market is also a great place to come and hang out. You can always find a hot meal and sometimes even live music. 

Make the Boyle County Farmer’s Market your one stop shop for high quality, local produce and products for your family.

If you have questions or comments about the column, or if you’d like more information feel free to contact me by email at