Farmers Market Shopping Strategies

Michele Anna Jordan has been writing about shopping at farmers markets for the Press Democrat for the last fifteen years.  She takes a look back at her first column and offers a great bit of history of the Original Certified Santa Rosa Farmers Market and her column.

Here’s her list:

Strategies for Successful Farm Market Shopping 

  • Take a cooler with ice (for dairy products, poultry, seafood, and strawberries) and a bucket of water (for flowers).
  • Keep several strong cloth or string bags in your car.
  • Remember to take small bills and plenty of change (in larger markets, guard against pickpockets, a potential problem as markets become more popular).
  • Go early and walk the market before making your purchases; taste and compare whenever possible.
  • Don’t shop with a list—look for what is at its peak, then build a meal around it.  A well-stocked pantry of staples (olive oils, vinegars, spices, pasta, beans and other legumes, and frozen homemade stocks) back home makes this a breeze.
  • Take large or heavy items to your car immediately, or ask the farmer to set them aside for you.
  • Don’t barter over small items, only large quantities (lugs of peaches, for example) near the end of the market day.
  • Remember to bring sunscreen in warm weather.
  • Ask questions even if you think you know the answer (it’s often not what you expect).
  • Relax and try not to hurry.  The pleasure of being at the market is nearly as important as your purchases.
  • Put your car keys in your pocket or purse before you begin shopping.

read more from this column originally published April 23, 1997


In today’s column there is a little more market history  both column have wonderful seasonal recipes

Do you have a tip for shopping at the market?