Well, here’s the deal: Brent and I weren’t always farmers.
Our journey into growing our own food began several years ago when we, like a lot of people, started looking outside of supermarkets for fresh vegetables, clean meat, raw dairy, and pastured eggs.
One of our goals was to eat more nutrients, but we were also very interested in finding out for ourselves, and teaching our children, where our food came from. This involved heading to the farmers markets and sometimes to the actual farms flung out all over creation down backroads and up mountain paths. Having a relationship with those farmers ended up being way more rewarding (and inspirational) than we ever thought.
Now that I’m on the other side of the market booth, I thought it might be helpful to give you some ideas for how to be prepared as you head out to the market. Maybe you’ve been going for years and, like me, you forget your reusable bags every single time. Or maybe you’ve never been to the market before and you’re not sure what to expect. Either way, here’s a concise list of things to remember, because we could all use a reminder.
- Reusable grocery bags. This is the easiest to do, and the easiest to forget. I know, because I still struggle. Everyone has one or two of these lying around. If not, there are a plethora of options at the thrift store, often for a quarter. Take them with you everywhere, always. Keep several in your car. Your farmer will appreciate your thoughtfulness and your effort.
- Reusable produce bags. These are also a really great help, especially for produce sellers. Giant rolls of produce bags eat into a farmer’s profits quickly, and they just send more plastic out into the world. Just throw a bunch of reusable net bags into your grocery bags (that you keep in your car) so you always have them with you as well. These are the ones I use and really like: https://www.motherearthnews.com/store/product/natural-home-produce-bags-2-for-1
- Cash. A lot of people don’t even think about carrying cash anymore because of the convenience of plastic. Some farmers will only take cash or market tokens, but many now offer the convenience of a card reader right at their stall. The only downside is that someone will have to pay for the convenience. Credit card companies charge a 2 – 4% fee for every transaction. That means that a $7 pack of sausage will cost someone $.14-$.17 to pay by card. At this point, the farmer has a choice. She can either make transactions clunkier and slower by adding a fee for using a card, or she can just absorb the cost. By using cash, transactions are so much simpler and it cuts out the middle man (banks/financial institutions).
- Jars and/or cups. Bringing back your own jars for milk, kombucha, and lemonade and/or your own cups for coffee and tea save farmers the expense of the container plus it saves the earth from more waste. Just make sure they are super clean! Throw them in your grocery bag before you head out and you’re all set.
- Cooler. Remember to put a cooler in the back of your car (or on your bike) with icepacks to keep your meats, dairy, and eggs cool – especially in the summer. Often when you head downtown for groceries, you will want to stop at other shops or you might want to take your time at the market and have a bite to eat. This will ensure that you don’t have to rush, but you can enjoy your trip to town without worry.
So, there you have it – grocery bags, produce bags, cash, jars, and cooler. Write out this little list and tape it to your door so you can see it before you leave on market days. If you can remember these 5 things, your trip will be even more fulfilling, and your farmer will be even more delighted to see you.