Farmers Market vs. Grocery Store: Quality vs. Saving?
There's no doubt that farmers markets have fantastic seasonal produce, but is it budget-friendly? Shopping at a local farmers market can seem like an extravagance, but it doesn't have to be! You may not realize it, but the produce at farmers markets is often cheaper than what you'd find in grocery stores; you just have to know how to shop. Here are a few tips to making the most from your monthly grocery budget.
Whether you shop at a farmers market or at your local grocery chain, you'll do well to plan your grocery budget and cooking schedule accurately. Don't make purchases impulsively. Sure, there are beautiful fruits and vegetables everywhere you turn in a farmers market, but if you can't use them, have you really saved? Instead, plan a weekly menu of what you plan on cooking, eating, and freezing so that you always use all of the fruits and veggies you buy.
Vendors at farmers markets are often quite flexible, certainly more so than supermarkets, but don't push it. Remember, farmers don't grow food exclusively for the pleasure of it. They do it for a living. If you want to buy in bulk then by all means, ask for a deal. But don't waste the vendor's time trying to talk down the price of a single tomato.
Go Early for the Best Products and Late for the Best Deals
Naturally, if you are the first to arrive at your local farmers market, you can scoop up all of the very best produce before it gets sold out. But by the afternoon, when the farmers have to load up and clear out, they are eager to get any surplus off of their hands and extend pretty deep discounts. It’s just up to you what is more important.
Much of what you'll find in a farmers market is vastly superior to what is offered in chain grocery stores. Plus, you’re supporting your local economy! Fortunately, with some planning and smart shopping, the food will only taste like a luxury, not cost like one!
Photo Credit: bigstockphoto.com, user adisa