Dining and Drink

7 ways to shop smarter at farmers' markets

Here are a few do's and don'ts

Dane County Farmers’ Market Manager Sarah Elliott gives us a few farmers’ market do’s and don’ts.

1. Be Sustainable
Bring a reusable bag and then take it a step further by bringing reusable containers to protect “smushable” products like strawberries, blueberries and cherry tomatoes.

2. Don’t Haggle
Elliott says haggling is very rarely appropriate since farmers set a price based on what they need to keep their businesses viable.

3. Visit Early for the Best Selection
“ ‘The early bird gets the worm’ is definitely an adage that applies at the farmers’ market,” Elliott says. Especially if you’re looking for the first items of a season, which are bought quickly.

4. Snag Last-Minute Deals
If you visit around closing, some producers will offer discounts and deals on their items, Elliot says.

5. Bring Small Bills
While some places will accept credit cards, bringing cash is still a good practice. Elliott says having small bills rather than $20 bills can also be helpful to vendors, especially when visiting early in the morning.

6. Don’t Bring Dogs
All dogs, apart from service dogs, are banned from DCFM. While the rules aren’t as strict at other markets, having dogs around food products is a public health and safety challenge.

7. Stay in the Loop
Stay informed about area markets through social media pages and newsletters. DCFM sends monthly newsletters with recipes, tips for the market and lists of products that will be found at the next market. Have favorite vendors? Many are also on social media and will talk about their products and locations throughout the week.


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