The good guide to farmer’s markets

Summer is here and with the warm weather, weekend mornings can only mean one thing – heading out into the fresh air and grabbing your share of the freshest produce and artisan items from the local farmers’ market. Here are our expert tips to take to market, plus why they’re so damn great.  

1. Be an early bird 

Sure, we all love Saturday morning sleep ins but if you’re planning on heading to your local Farmers’ Market it’s best to head along as early as possible to avoid the hordes of people and queues. The sooner you get there, the more chance you’ll have of picking up your favourite produce and items that might have sold out should you arrive later on. 

2. Take a set amount of cash

The great thing about Farmers’ Markets is that they’re on every weekend. Don’t blow your entire budget for the month by getting carried away and overspending. Take a set amount of cash, stick to it and what you can’t afford this time, aim to buy next week. 

3. Don’t go crazy on the lists 

Creating shopping lists are great in that they remind you of the essential items you’ll need for the week – meats, veges, fruits and more. But they can also restrict you from trying new things that Farmers’ Markets are unique for stocking. Reevaluate your list and try to include room in your budget to try two new things – perhaps a new spread or jam for your morning slice of toast or an artisan soap or candle for your room or bathroom. 

A crisp and beautiful morning at the Christchurch Farmers’ Market 

4. Take reusable bags 

Avoid having to lug around dozens of plastic bags when you start your produce haul, and take your own eco friendly tote bag along which can carry more for your convenience. Tote bags are great for a range of purposes, from food shopping to beach days other day trips. Take a look at two-toned tote bag makeover here

5. Get amongst your bulk buys 

Farmers’ markets are well known for delivery some fantastic bargains when you buy in bulk. If you’re not used to buying this way and are worried you’ll end up wasting produce, look up ways to preserve food – freezing, canning and drying and more. And ask the stand holders at the market for their expert advice too – they’re always happy to help and share their wealth of knowledge. 

Why we love farmers’ markets 

We spoke to Maggie Asplet, chair of the New Zealand Farmers’ Market Association on why farmers’ markets are such a great thing to attend. 

1. You are buying local – what a wonderful way to support your community, to be able to go along to your local farmers market and buy from your produce from vendors who live in your community.

2. You are buying fresh – what you see is what you get, fresh straight from the paddock, by the very person who grew the produce. This allows you to discuss direct with the grower. Perhaps they have an intriguing way to cook the produce? Just ask.

3. You are buying direct – no middle man allowing for great value, great freshness, great variety

4. You are buying artisan product – as well as your delicious fresh produce, you can get a wonderful selection of “added value” products – such a variety of choice

5. You are getting an experience – make a visit to your local farmers market a must, the something to do on “the market” day – a place to catch up with friends, enjoy the atmosphere, relax and spend a little time.

For a full list of farmers’ markets all around the country, visit the NZ Farmers’ Market website here

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