Farmers’ Markets for the Win!

May 7, 2012

Does anyone else have a farmers market near where they live? I have 2 within a 20 km radius and I can’t even begin to tell you how great they are. Well, technically, one is a satellite location, but still. These markets have been around for centuries and continuously growing as the demand in urban areas increase. I’m pretty sure I was in New York and stumbled across one last summer., same thing happened in Massachusetts. One of my all time favourite markets was in Barcelona. I’m pretty sure we wandered around for a good two hours looking at everything. The problem with backpacking is that shopping is out of the question, so you have to settle for window browsing.

What is a farmers market?

For those who don’t know what Farmers’ Markets are, they are a place where local farmers sell directly to the public. Usually the prices are lower than most grocery stores and you know that you are supporting the local economy.  My mother was the one who sought out and found the market when we first moved into the area some 16 years ago. Back then, the talk about organic food wasn’t as predominant, but the spirit of community was alive and well. The city that I live in has about 300,000 people in it. And while not everyone shops at the market, the majority have been there once or twice.

One of the best parts of going to the farmers market is the ability to barter. You all know how much I love bartering. I even try to get discounts at regular department stores.

How do farmers markets benefit the consumer?

Offerings include produce grown on local area farms, fresh pasta, prepared foods, gluten-free baked goods, and even home grown soap. All of the business owners are friendly and engaging, walking the fine line between chatting and selling. Honestly, its a place where you can go and get food and other products directly from the source.

Tip: If you ever want a large quantity of any given product, go closer to the closing time and barter for the remaining stock. I have been able to get a lot of fresh produce for picnics and parties for 1/10 of the price.


How do farmers markets benefit the vendor?

Vendors largely benefit from taking time out and setting up show at the local farmers market.

One of the major benefits is having consumers come directly to you. While the setting is a lot more conducive for smaller vendors, the time needed for marketing is minimal. As long as you pay for your table and are in the same location weekly, customers will find you. You are also have the ability to upsell other products if you have a regular store. Our markets has everything from bakers to photographers present every week. Its the best type of marketing; face to face. It allows customers to buy directly from the vendor and become acquainted with the person behind the product. You can’t buy that kind of loyalty and word of mouth.

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  • Daisy @ Add Vodka May 7, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    I love farmers markets – I do find that sometimes they`re cheaper but sometimes they are way more expensive. I love being able to support local farms, though.

    • Marissa May 7, 2012 at 9:02 pm

      You have to learn how to barter, my dear.

  • Tammy May 7, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    In San Diego, the food is MUCH more expensive at Farmer’s Markets. I am a member of a modified Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), that is tied in to the Farmer’s Market near my work. For $15 a week, I get a supply of fruits and veggies that fill one of my reusable shopping bags. I love that it is farm-fresh. It is more than I would have paid in the grocery store, but it is pesticide free, and if I eat it right away, there are more nutrients than for food shipped in that has sat on supermarket shelves, and it helps the farmers.

    • Marissa May 7, 2012 at 9:01 pm

      I’d didn’t realize that food was pricer, but you get the benefits that come with it too

  • Jai Catalano May 7, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    I live by Union Square NYC and we have a great famers market. We also have a wine market there too. 🙂

    • Marissa May 7, 2012 at 8:59 pm

      I’ve been to that one, I think.

  • Tackling Our Debt May 7, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    I really like farmers markets as well. I think you mentioned that you are in Kitchener. I have been to the Markets there and they are wonderful. They get so crowded on a Saturday morning too.

    • Marissa May 7, 2012 at 8:59 pm

      Thats the best part. The St. Jacobs one in the summer is awesome.

  • Jeff @ Healthy Breakfast Smoothies May 7, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    We have one every Wed evening on our main strip, about a mile from the house. Where I go to get a lot of my smoothie material 🙂 Also most of the fresh veggies. I do still go to the health market here as well as sometimes their pricing is better. I have done the bargaining at the end as well 😉

    • Marissa May 7, 2012 at 9:02 pm

      Thats my favorite part!

  • Modest Money May 7, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Unfortunately I think the farmers’ markets around here are all rather expensive. I think you’d have to barter pretty aggressively to get the prices closer to what grocery stores charge. There are plenty of Asian produce stores with very reasonable prices though.

    • Marissa May 8, 2012 at 1:41 am

      Really? They are a lot cheaper here.

  • Paul @ The Frugal Toad May 8, 2012 at 1:01 am

    When I lived in Pittsburgh we used to frequent the local farmer’s market. Really miss the fresh vegetables!

    • Marissa May 8, 2012 at 1:42 am

      I love the interactions with the farmers… and the fresh vegetables.

  • MyMoneyDesign May 8, 2012 at 1:14 am

    Nice way to respect such an under-utilized local resource! We’ve got a pretty popular Farmers Market in our city. My wife always gets a ton of goodies from there. We’re fans!

  • Jessica @ Budget For Health May 8, 2012 at 1:36 am

    You just reminded me I wanted to go to ours this Wednesday! There is a location set up in downtown Ann Arbor just for the farmer’s market on Wednesdays & Saturdays. They had an Oktoberfest theme in the fall and there were brats, sauerkraut, and all kinds of artsy stuff. I like getting raw honey from farmers; you just can’t beat the flavor.

    • Marissa May 8, 2012 at 1:43 am

      Everything just tastes better and fresher. They just dont last as long.

  • Squirrelers May 8, 2012 at 3:50 am

    I really like the idea of farmers markets. Eating local produce, which hasn’t traveled a great distance, just seems more healthy. Wish I had more time to explore and visit one, though I suppose if I made it a priority it could happen.

    • Marissa May 8, 2012 at 7:48 am

      I assume it takes a bit of effort at first to get into the routine, but its smooth sailing from there on.

  • Katie May 8, 2012 at 1:15 am

    I love farmers markets. I do think they can be more expensive on some things but it’s nice to get fresh vegetables. I prefer a trip to the farmers market over a trip to the grocery store.

    • Marissa May 8, 2012 at 1:42 am

      Me too. I can boxes, I mean huge boxes, of cherries for example for 1/10 of the price.

  • Michelle May 8, 2012 at 5:28 am

    We only have one that I know of and it’s pretty far away. Boo! We used to have a really sweet little fruit stand right up the street too, but they closed. We need more fresh, homegrown goodness around here!

    • Marissa May 8, 2012 at 7:49 am

      We need fresh homegrown food everywhere. There are too many chemicals in our food these days.

  • Rafiki May 8, 2012 at 1:37 am

    Barbados is full of all sorts of those markets. What you call a farmer’s market, we just call the market. We then have other types like many fish markets and other various specialized ones. We even have some that only open for special occasions.

    • Marissa May 8, 2012 at 1:41 am

      You’ll have to show me around there when I finally end up in Barbados.

  • Mackenzie May 8, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    That’s definitely something I want to start doing this summer: go to the Farmer’s Market! Thanks for the reminder 🙂

  • Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter May 8, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    I love farmers markets. It is so empowering to buy local food that tastes good. We also buy from a CSA which we love. Organic produce that is locally grown delivered once a week. Can’t get much better than that.

  • Joe @ Retire By 40 May 9, 2012 at 12:19 am

    We have a farmer market about 3 blocks away. We love it, but the produce is very expensive. I like buying local and I wish the price is lower so we can buy a bit more.

  • ralchev May 9, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    I ADORE that type of market, coz you know who are you buying from, and you know what you buy. Produce is not that expensive actually, especially here in Bulgaria, but there are not a lot of shops around 🙁

  • Lance@MoneyLife&More May 10, 2012 at 1:45 am

    We have two farmers markets in the area but I haven’t been to them yet this year. Thanks for reminding me. Maybe I’ll go in two weeks when I am free 🙂

  • Kris @ BalancingMoneyandLife May 10, 2012 at 2:22 am

    We have seasonal Farmers’ Markets here (June through late September), but except for one big one, I’ve not been impressed with most of them. Unfortunately, the prices are often far higher than at the grocery store, which is difficult for me to justify. I like the fresh produce, but I’ve yet to develop a real love for any one market.