If you haven’t yet been to a Farmer’s Market this summer, now’s a great time to go! I love the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market but there are plenty in the Twin Cities area you can find if you pick up a Minnesota Grown directory. Many Farmer’s Markets offer more than just produce – you can find breads, honey, meats, cheeses, flowers, candles, soaps, handmade clothing or accessory items, and more. At some you’ll get to enjoy live entertainment and food you can eat there like bratwurst, hot dogs, roasted corn, kettle corn, lemonade, and ice cream.
A few tips to prepare for your Farmer’s Market outing:
- Bring cash. And bring more than you think you’ll need. Cash is the currency of choice at every Farmer’s Market I’ve been to (probably the only accepted currency). No vendor wants to wait around as you fumble around writing a check for $5.00.
- Wear good walking shoes and appropriate dress for the weather. I’ve gone to the Mpls Farmer’s Market after work in the middle of a hot day wearing work clothes (dark pants) and heels. That was not fun.
- Bring your own bags if possible. I forget to do this and come home with produce in about 10 different plastic bags. This is ok if you reuse the bags (which I do) but makes for a lot of garbage otherwise. I’ve seen others bring their own reusable cloth bags and always try to do the same.
- If you’re bringing young kids, bring a stroller with a compartment underneath to put your bags. This has been EXTREMELY helpful for me when bringing my 2-year-old. She sits in the stroller while I load up the space underneath her and my back thanks me. FYI – fruits and veggies can be very HEAVY if you’re getting more than a couple different things! I’ve made several trips to my car to “unload my baggage.” If you plan to get a lot of stuff but don’t have young kids or a stroller, bring someone to help you carry things!
- People say to go early to Farmer’s Markets. Sure you’ll get the best choice but I’ve usually gone late morning on a weekend to the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market and there was always a LOT left. The items that do typically sell out early are baked goods like breads and rolls from bakery vendors. But sometimes if they have a lot leftover, they’ll offer a great deal. I went on a Sunday toward the end of the market hours and one bakery offered breads for “Buy one get one free.” This applied to any breads…so I bought loaves, hot dog buns and hamburger buns for half price!
- Be appreciative. After talking with the people who actually grow the foods and work at the farms, then come to the Markets to sell them directly to you, I’ve learned what sacrifices these people make so we can get fresh foods at direct from the farmer prices. Many come from many miles away. One young woman said she gets up at 2 in the morning to bring the freshest possible meat from her family’s farm to the market that morning. I told her thank you for that and was glad to buy meat from her (which was really good, by the way).