marketdayFor those who are used to shopping at a grocery store, going to a farmers market can be a different experience. We’ve compiled some some tips to make your shopping experience more enjoyable:

1. Bring your own bags. Most vendors have bags in case of an emergency, but bringing your own bags is better for the environment and saves your farmer the added expense of providing them. If you have insulated cooler bags, those are ideal for carrying meat, cheese, and other cold items.

2. Carry cash. Cash is usually the best way to shop the market. Some farmers and vendors do have card readers, but carrying cash allows our farmers and vendors to avoid processing fees. And if you forget to bring cash or run out during your visit – don’t worry! The market has ATM services available for a $2 fee. Stop by the info table to get tokens (which spend just like cash) using your credit or debit card.

3. Visit on rainy days, too! Bad weather may make you want to curl up in bed and stay at home, but please remember – our farmers had to endure that weather to harvest your food and to set up at market. Your support is always appreciated – especially on rainy days!

4. Eat seasonally. Our market is producer-only, which means that what you see on your farmer’s table is what they have grown or produced themselves. (At some markets, farmers buy produce and other items from outside sources to provide a greater variety to customers, but ours is not one of them.) Because of this fact, our selection is limited to what we can grow in our region/climate at that specific time of year. Eating seasonally means learning to shape your meals around what is available. It’s a bit of a challenge, and involves being versatile with your meal planning, but doing so more directly benefits your local growers, your local economy, AND our environment.

5. Sample all the things! Many of our vendors offer free samples of their products, so be sure to try what they offer. You never know when you’ll discover your new favorite market treat!

6. Allow plenty of time to shop. Unlike the supermarket, rushing through the aisles and tossing things into your cart isn’t necessary here. Shopping your farmers market is an enjoyable experience! Try allowing plenty of time to stroll around the circle, see what’s new, enjoy our live music, grab a cup of coffee, and visit our community tent. We offer our community tent to local, non-profit organizations free of charge so that they can spread awareness of their services. Stop by and meet and greet these organizations to stay abreast of current events and offerings.

7. Chat it up. Our farmers are incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about what they do. They will answer your questions about their growing practices or provide recommendations on how to prepare a certain item if you’re not sure. Don’t be afraid to ask.

–The Monroe Farmers Market crew