Farmer’s market season in Utah is here! Farmer’s markets have become more popular in recent years as many people have become interested in buying food in season from sources close to home. Don’t know where to find a farmer’s market near your neighborhood? Here is a link to a directory of farmer’s markets throughout the United States and Canada:
And, here’s what first-timers need to know about visiting a farmer’s market:
Farmer’s Markets are fun
This is not at all like a trip to the grocery store. I want to take my kids with me to the farmer’s market, though it would be a fun date or outing with girlfriends too. Many markets have playgrounds, children’s activities, live music and lots of free samples. A visit to the downtown Salt Lake City or Ogden markets can be the start to a full day of fun in the city. We visited the farmer’s market in Boulder, Colorado as part of a family vacation.
You can buy more than fruits and vegetables
There is nothing better than taking home a bag of freshly-picked cherries, peaches, tomatoes or a watermelon from the farmers market, but you may also find artisan cheese, local meats, bakery-fresh bread, salsas, honey, fresh flowers and more.
Vendors selling hot, prepared meals and snacks are often represented as well. Our family loved the dessert crepes at a smaller market in Kaysville, Utah and vegan ice cream in Salt Lake City.
Farmer’s Markets feature arts and crafts vendors
Farmer’s markets are fun places to find unique art, jewelry, scented soaps, and even clothing. My daughter bought a dress for her doll last summer at the Ogden, Utah farmer’s market.
What to bring:
- Cash – some vendors offer credit card processing, but many still do business on a cash-only basis. Bring small bills and change.
- Grocery bags – most vendors will provide plastic bags, but experienced shoppers bring their own reusable bags, which are larger and sturdier.
- Cooler – keep a cooler in your car for perishables, especially if you live more than a few minutes away or will not return home immediately afterward.
Tips for Success
- Large, urban markets can be crowded. Go early if you are want the best selection and parking space, though it’s still worthwhile to go later.
- Don’t buy anything until you have glanced at all of the booths. Multiple vendors may sell cherries, but in different varieties, prices and quantities.
- Talk to vendors. Find out where your food came from and what will be for sale in the coming weeks. Get recipes and tips for preparation. If you are buying large quantities or late in the day, you may be able to get a better price, though haggling is not the norm at farmer’s markets.
The variety of produce at a farmer’s market can be overwhelming. Find some recipes before you go and make a list of potential purchases. For ideas, try these Farmer’s Market Recipes from Better Homes and Gardens.