Today we have Trish from Nutrisha here to share some tips on shopping the farmers market.
Hi Food Friends!
As a full time mom and farmers market chef I created Nutrisha, a food and nutrition platform that encourages individuals and families to shop local first, cook the season, and grow little chefs. I hold a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and am dietetic technician registered through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. As I share the adventures of my own little chefs, the same questions from moms arise about getting kids excited about food. Thanks to The Nashville Mom, I am sharing some of my best basic tips for Farmers Market Shopping for families with you.
- Hit the ATM– yes, agreed, it is the age of digital money but it also costs small business money to take credit card payments. Most famers and artisans have the Square readers or similar but take some cash just in case. I can usually get by with just $20-40 of cash.
- Subscribe to a CSA– you may have heard or experienced the challenges of a CSA such as too much produce or not knowing what to do with some of the veggies. Lean into a support system like Nutrisha to get new recipes and identify some of those new-to-you items. Weekly or Bi-weekly boxes run $20-35 depending on the farm and their organic certifications or limit of subscriptions. Paying in advance gives to boosts: The first is you have to get up out of bed to pick your box that week, forget the mid week grocery run! The second is the convenience of not having to pay when you get there, refer to #1 :)
- Prioritize the grocery budget– “Should” we all buy local and in season? YES, however maybe it doesn’t make sense in your own budget to do so. Here are some staples that can be a foundation of the family trip and aren’t too far off the grocery mark.
- MILK: A gallon of milk is about $6 which is the same or comparable to Publix organic milk or a brand like Horizon.
- MEAT: Chuck or sirloin roast will cost about $6/pound. This cut of meat can be made into anything. Just lean into your slow cooker for limitless possibilities.
- EGGS: Omnivore pastured happy hen eggs cost $3.50-7.00 per dozen. Vegetarian cage free store brand or Omega added Egglands Best run in this range also.
- VEGGIES: Kale is almost always available and can be used for everything. A bunch runs about $3 and yields 4-6 servings. With the CSA, you don’t even have to plan to shop, just add on items. $8-15 in addition to the box.
- CHICKEN: Buy the whole chicken, not the pieces. Another one that’s about $6 per pound and easy to throw in the crock (just remove the skin first).
- Farmers Markets have sales too! Just think bumper crop, you will see ‘markdown’ or price changed signs on the table when the farmers need to move crops like yellow squash, cucumbers or tomatoes. This is the best time to preserve these items by freezing, drying or canning for later.
- BYOB– Grocery stores have the happy reminder on their cart return corrals. “Bring your own bags” Another item that costs the producer money, and you are going to toss it at home anyway right? Also, bring a cooler bag for those cold things so you don’t have to go right home but rather enjoy some more outings, especially on a Saturday. Several markets supplement their operation costs buy selling merchandise such as shopping bags, so represent your community and support the market with their bags. Usually $15-25.
- Bring the kids! Yes, the farmers market is THE place to introduce kids to the food system. Producers will almost always offer kids a sample of whatever they have available. And if they don’t, who does it hurt if a kid tastes their first sugar snap pea because they saw it on the table and followed the curiosity. Now you know what to buy because they led that conversation. Oh! and the activities: weekly activities such as story time, crafts, scavenger hunts and cooking classes for kids. ***Strollers can be hard to navigate in some busy or grassy markets although are great carriers for stuff. Your call ☺