Going to the farmers market on Saturday morning is my favorite way to start the weekend!
I’ve been going to the same farmers market for nearly 20 years. In my early twenties, I worked at one of the booths. And this fall I’m doing a cooking demo on how to use fall veggies.
This is all to say that I am a believer in the joy of the farmers market. Not just the veggies, but the community of people and friends you make there!
When I get around the fresh vegetables, I can go a little overboard. Last summer I spend $38 on tomatoes one Saturday because I got so excited.
So being on a budget this week is good for me. How much delicious food can I buy for just $20?
Don’t worry, I’ve got some tips for stretching those dollars!
Tip #1: Bring a reusable tote.
It will make hauling your treasures much easier!
The best bargain at the market is always cabbage!
I bought one medium-sized head for $1.50.
Tip #2: Always ask your farmers if they have any deals.
There is almost always something that they have an overabundance of, so it might be a little cheaper.
For Pride Month, a farmer was running a special on bunches of Swiss chard. The beautiful bunch above was $2.25!
(Money remaining: $16.25)
One bunch of carrots was $3!
And then I got a bunch of lambs leg—which is a grain in the amaranth family. I’ve never used it, so the farmer gifted it to me to try out.
Tip #3: It is very helpful to know your farmers!
(It was also a rainy Saturday, 30 minutes before the market closed, so people were a little more open to making deals.)
(Money remaining: $13.25)
Garlic, popcorn, and garlic scapes set me back another $6.
This popcorn is the best!! It’s so sweet and every kernel pops up.
And I’m gonna make garlic scape pesto, which will be amazing because farmers market garlic is worlds different than what you find at the grocery. If store-bought garlic is a light bulb, then farmers market garlic is the sun.
(Money remaining: $7.25)
I had to get a couple of tomatoes...they are hothouse tomatoes because it’s June, but they still taste loads better than tomatoes from the grocery.
However, tomatoes are always going to be expensive at the farmers market, so it’s not your biggest bargain. I decided I could only afford one.
(Money remaining: $5)
These tiny little squash are delicious sliced in salad!
I am not a fan of summer squash from the grocery and never eat it unless it’s from the market. Market summer squash has a firmer texture and its flavors are more pronounced, sweeter, and nuttier.
Squash are always inexpensive, so these little guys only cost me only $1.
(Money remaining: $4)
Any berries from the market are going to seem expensive compared to the grocery, but there is no better was to spend your money. A pint of blueberries is $5 or two pints is $9.
I only had $4 remaining. What to do?
The question is this…
Do I try to bargain in order to stick to an arbitrary budget I’ve made this week, or do I get more tokens so I have $5 to spend?
I got more tokens…
Farming is hard. I love and believe in a deal. And I totally respect being on a budget.
But because my budget was just an experiment, haggling with the farmer over the price would have felt like being cheap.
(Money remaining: $4—because I added $5 and then subtracted $5)
One of my favorite vendors had a special on broccoli. It’s usually $1.99 a pound, but because of the rain, it wouldn’t keep well (side note: water on broccoli florets isn’t great).
So I got the broccoli for $1 a pound!
(Money remaining: $1)
And that’s where I called it a day.
The vendors were taking down their tents, my tote was full, and I had enough veggies to have at least one farmers market find with every dinner for the week—all for $24!
Plus I had blueberries, and those are Darrick’s favorite!