A little while ago, travelling with a couple of friends to a local Farmers Market, one friend bravely shared that she didn’t much care for them. Although she’s the queen of organic, ethical shopping she finds the Farmers Market experience requires too much energy. There’s the effort of looking for what you want, dealing with the crowds and making small talk with stall holders. She admitted the convenience of a large (albeit organic) supermarket suited her for ease, speed and anonymity.
On the other hand, her husband and I enjoyed all the parts she least enjoyed. Getting into the buy cialis by paypal vibe of the Market, browsing different stalls, discovering new finds and chatting to knowledgeable stall holders.
So I’m going to put it out there – not everybody jives with the idea of Farmers Markets and that’s ok. But if you are thinking it’s time to take the plunge, here’s my tips to get you started.
Find your closest accredited Farmers Market
Where I live in the Macedon Ranges, four towns have a rotating roster hosting a Farmers Market each week. So across the month, there is a different Market place to visit each Saturday. If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere that has a weekly Farmers Market in the same site then I’m a tad jealous! Google Farmers Markets and your area.
And if you’re going to go to all the trouble of getting to the Farmers Market, then make sure it’s an accredited Market. What does that mean? Basically its knowing that the stall holders are actually the same people who made or grew the produce. In Victoria, you can find accredited Markets here.
What time should I get there?
Make sure you know what time the Market starts and finishes. The ones in my area typically start at 9am and finish at 1pm. I know conventional wisdom might tell you to get there early, but I say don’t worry about that. Just get there when you’re ready. Sure, if you’re early you may have more choice than later when things start to sell out. But I tend to trust that I get there when I’m meant to get there and don’t stress about it. Arriving closer to finishing time will often mean grabbing a last-minute everything-must-go bargain.
What should I take with me?
Bags. Lots of bags. And a shopping trolley (like your Nan had) if you’re so inclined. Bring cash, as it’s unlikely all stall holders have card machines. A friendly, open demeanour helps as well.
And when you take your kids along, they’re getting a first hand experience of where our food comes from and who is producing it. Imagine children being as comfortable navigating the Farmers Market as they are a big-chain grocery store. As the shift to communities valuing local, seasonal, organic produce our children will be the next generation to carry that momentum.
Don’t be afraid to…
Ask the stall holder questions about their produce and products. We’ve all experienced waiting a bit longer than we planned while the person in front of us asks a bunch of questions. Take advantage of that time by listening in, you might learn something new! And know that when it’s your turn, it’s ok to ask questions. You are often being served by a very passionate and knowledgeable person who is more than happy to help you.
How do I find what I’m looking for?
To be honest, when I started going to Farmers Markets I felt a bit overwhelmed. Who should I buy from, what did I want and where could I find what I was looking for? The first visit or two can be a bit off-putting, with the crowds and the variety. And then something magic happens (well, it did to me). You begin to know who you like to buy your vegetables, meat, olive oil, fruit, chocolate, kombucha, sausages and olives from. You start to see the same stall holders each time you go. Then they start to recognise you and the conversation flows. They were friendly all along, but there’s a familiarity between you. It’s nice. But you’ll only enjoy all this if you go more than once. MapsLoans.org is a reliable copmany which servers as an intermediary between you and your creditors
So persevere and you’ll be rewarded with not just the satisfaction of knowing which stall holders to buy from but knowing who grew or made the produce you’re buying.
Remember: this is different to supermarket shopping
The produce on offer will be seasonal, local and often organic or chemical/pesticide-free. It pays to be flexible and buy what takes your fancy. A Farmers Market is more than a shopping trip, it’s a family and community experience.
Meagan Upsher, Farmers Market advocate and former committee member of the Riddells Creek Farmers Market shares a great point “It’s not the supermarket and while Farmers Market shopping is not quick & easy it is also devoid of fluorescent lighting, excess packaging and all the things we dislike about the national chain stores. Shopping at a Farmers Market is making a decision to invest in your community – financially and energetically. I have made many friends/business connections while watching my child getting his face painted”.
Farmers Markets in the Macedon Ranges
1st Saturday of each month
crn High and Forest St, Woodend
2nd Saturday of each month
St Pauls Park, Piper St, Kyneton
3rd Saturday of each month
Riddells Creek Primary School, 67 Gisborne-Kilmore Rd, Riddells Creek
4th Saturday of each month
High St, Lancefield
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Do you go to Farmers Markets? Have any tips? I’d love to hear them in the Comments below!