For the trip to the farmers market, you will need a cooler because most markets are some distance from your home and you want to keep your food from spoiling especially if it is hot. Next, if you have never been to a farmer’s market you should educate yourself on what is in season and how to test it for ripeness (these tips are found on the Internet).Finally you need to brush up on your haggling skills.
Most outside markets are local growers and are willing to sell their product then to bring it home. The best time of day to get a great price is within the last hour of the selling day. You want a basket of tomatoes and the vendor wants $5.00 you can offer $2.50 then he will lower it to $4.00, you offer $3.00 and if they still will not budge ask them to throw in another vegetable and you will pay the $4.00. More times than not the seller will give you what you want at your price.
There are two types of farmers markets, indoor (all year round) and outdoor (seasonal). The outdoor markets are easier to haggle over price than the indoor because of the overhead that the indoor market has to pay. Outdoor markets are just fruits and vegetables being sold by local growers trying to make money on their product. These outdoor markets can also be community gatherings used to raise money for a local cause or charity. These markets give you a sense of what it was like in the days before modern grocery stores.
The indoor markets like the one in Cleveland Ohio that has been around since 1840.The big difference in the indoor market is the selection; you will find anything from cakes and pastries to a wide variety of meat and fish. The indoor market has many different vendors you will not (usually) find major store brands located here. The meat is as fresh as coming right off the cow or other animal. Now the indoor market can be hard to navigate because of all the aisles and vendors but most markets tend to keep the same kinds of product in the same area. If it is your first time in the market, you should walk the market first to get a feel of the market and where things are located. It may be a good idea to watch people who have been there before to pick up tips on how to get the best deals. Outdoor markets are usually either in a straight line or a couple of manageable areas which make it easier to navigate.
Almost all markets will sell fresh spices and that comes in handy with my next tip, cooking what you have bought. From my personal experience from sopping both indoor and outdoor markets, I am able to cook a gourmet meal or a large meal on a minimum wage pocket. Here are a few cooking tips and a recipe, try to use olive oil and low heat to cook your vegetables or meat the slower the cooking process the more savory the dish.
Remember to know what is in season when you get to any Farmer’s Market; a knowledgeable shopper is a healthy shopper. Once you have been to a farmers market you cannot wait to go back and experience it again.