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Farmers Markets = Cheap, Fresh Food!

April 14th, 2009 Jamie

I think it’s safe to say that a lot of what we eat in college is based on one of two things: ease of preparation, and cost. That probably explains why I subsisted mainly on Easy Mac and cereal my freshman year (though I did survive, I do not advocate this diet!!!).

Lucky for us the centuries-old tradition of Farmers Markets make healthy, yummy foods available just the way we like it: cheap.

Why Is Fresher Cheaper?!

As you may already know, a farmer’s market is a place where local growers and farmers gather to sell their fresh, delicious crops. There is no middle-man (like the grocery store, the shippers that get the produce to that store, etc.), which means you are only paying the farmer for growing the food, not all the other people who are involved in selling grocery store food (they pack, transport, unpack, display, etc.).

While you will have to buy whatever is in season (no imported watermelon in February) you will get fresher produce right from the source, and it will be much more delicious and affordable than what you find at a super market.

Shopping Tips

So, now that you’re excited about shopping there, here are some tips about how to get the best out of a farmer’s market:

  1. Know Where to Go. Don’t know how to find a farmer’s market? Some schools have them once a week right on campus, but if your school doesn’t offer one, you can still search the local community. Check with health food stores, your local co-op, the library, or the community section on craigslist.org!
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  2. Bring Cash. Most farmers markets are cash-only, so leave your credit and debit cards at home.
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  3. Ask for Samples. Farmer’s markets are full of new and different foods, so if you see something you might want to try, ask for a sample before you shell out your hard-earned cash. :)
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  4. Befriend Vendors. If you plan on becoming a regular, be sure to get to know the farmers and sellers you buy from most. Friendly faces are more likely to get the top selection!

Feel free to share your thoughts & tips in the comments! :)

photo by woodsy

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Entry Filed under: food & recipes

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ashley  |  April 15th, 2009 at 7:48 am

    Another good point to note is that a lot of farms offer pick-your-own fruits and veggies. It is always cheaper than buying already picked, plus it’s a good workout and tons of fun.

  • 2. Krista Smith  |  April 16th, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Great article! I love delicious food and as a college student that can be tough to do cheap. Luckily, my school Westminster College in Salt Lake City has partnered with a local co-op and so now I can buy great, local food for less. It’s called the Community Food Co-Op and is run by the Crossroads Urban Center. If your interested in supporting local growers, check to see if your school has a similar program.

  • 3. Jamie  |  April 18th, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Great tips from Ashley & Krista! I just drove by a U-Pick Strawberry field today that I didn’t even know was nearby. They are so expensive in the grocery store!

  • 4. Celebrate Earth Day with &hellip  |  April 19th, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    [...] buy local. It’s cheap and good for the environment!  Check your area to see if there are any farmer markets nearby.  And if you have lots of leftover food (because people were focused more on the drinks) [...]

  • 5. Thomas Bosch  |  April 19th, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Awesome post! Thanks for the tips! I never even thought about going to a farmers market to get food for my recipes.

    I completely agree with your first point as well, I’m trying to find more and more ways to prepare easy, quick, and cheap meals. It can be tough, but it is rewarding in the end!

  • 6. 5 great blogs about study&hellip  |  April 30th, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    [...] completely different college blog. It contains everything a college student should know. About where you should get your food and which pet you must have (called Dorm Zen)! Great [...]

  • 7. luke  |  June 17th, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    go to your markets and let them kno your in the trade and ask if thy can do it cheaper for you, sounds cheeky but it works for me, just give them a bit of friedly banter.

  • 8. Kaci  |  August 22nd, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    You can also get produce even cheaper around the time that Farmers Markets are packing up and leaving for the day because they’re trying to get rid of what’s left. I notice this happening more when I’m on my way in from school or work in the afternoon and they’re all closing up.

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