If You're Green About Farmers' Markets: 5 Terrific Tips

Birkenstocks, overalls, and those little-round-John-Lennon glasses.

Newsflash: You aren't required to own any of those to enjoy - and benefit from big time - a trip to your local farmers' market.

Now, admittedly I'm a recent convert to Birks, after having trashed them on social media for ages, (The iridescent silver ones I bought last summer were in heavy rotation back in '15. Also, if you really want to see who wore overalls best, do yourself a favor and check out the 1980's French art house, and mad sexy, movie Betty Blue. The lead actress, Beatrice Dalle, slays in them in the opening scenes. ), but I didn't wear those yesterday when I motored over to the Thursday afternoon outdoor market at Lippitt Park on PVD's East Side. It's a smaller version of the one on Saturday, which can be pretty tough to get to if, like me, you sleep in on the weekends. I've missed it a bunch of times, which is why I was so happy when I found out (Shout out to my friend Leslie for looping me in.) that there was another during the week in the late afternoon. #sweet

So, if you're like me, and not a seasoned vet of the whole farmers' market scene, I've put together a few tips to help make your experience awesome:

  1. Dare to be a little different and seek out markets held during the week. Like the Wednesday one at Lippitt Park. Or the Thursday one in Wickford from 1-5pm. They're not as cray as the weekend ones and it's a nice way to ease yourself into the fm groove. My friend Leslie gets an email newsletter that lists all the markets in RI, but you can check out sites like FarmFreshRI.org for more info. 
  2. Cash is (still) king. Yesterday, I was able to buy a jar of Kimchi (Fermented foods like Kimchi are amazing for your gut health. Check out our post all about it, by local food enthusiast and guest blogger Giana Rosa, by clicking here.) with a credit card, but other vendors were strictly cash and carry. Stop off at an ATM beforehand. Small bills are also a huge plus. 
  3. Go eco and bring a re-useable shopping bag. Or two. You'll need them to tote all your goodies home since not all of the vendors have bags to offer. You must have a few stashed at home in a kitchen drawer somewhere. I do because I have a long history of buying them at Whole Foods and then, forgetting to bring them back on the return trip. 
  4. Prepare to be...pleasantly surprised. When it comes time to settle the bill. As someone who's spent beaucoup time and money shopping at traditional supermarkets, gotta say that I was literally shocked when it came time to pay for the veggies I'd picked out on my first trip to a farm stand. (For more about that shopping trip, click here.) 
  5. It's more than just locally grown veggies and fruits tho. Yesterday, there was local seafood, cheese and yogurt, pastry from Seven Stars, live music (Video's up on the PattyJDotCom Instagram.), and more. Farmers' markets are a great opportunity to stock up on healthy, fresh food for less and tune into what's happening with small businesses and upstarts around the OS. I guarantee you'll find some brand new favorites that you probably never even knew existed.

Ciao for Now,

Patty J


Photo Credits: All pics courtesy of me and my I-Phone