Winter Farmers Markets create opportunities for us to connect with local farmers and pick up produce such as potatoes, carrots, kale, salad greens, and other staples all year long. For some, shopping at the winter markets are a new experience while for others it’s deeply entrenched in their weekly routine.
New to the market, or looking for ideas about how to make the most of your visit? Here are some tips for shopping at the winter market:
- Cash or plastic: Most markets have tables where you can run your credit or debit cards in exchange for tokens. Some markets, such as Asheville City Market, also can run your EBT card for tokens. All vendors accept cash, market tokens, and some accept credit card which they can swipe themselves.
- Take a lap: Many people suggest walking around the whole market before making your first purchase. This allows you to decide which items you want to fit into your budget. You might also change your mind from what you planned to purchase when you first walked in.
- Try it! If a vendor is offering a sample of something, don’t be afraid to try something new. Also, if there’s something you’ve never had before, you can ask them to give you a sample — they might not be able to, but often they are, and it’s doesn’t hurt to ask.
- Create your own variety: There’s less change in items from week to week in the winter than during the summer or fall. If you’re someone who needs a lot of variety in what you eat, create your own by taking weeks off from certain things — one week purchase squash and collard greens, the next sweet potatoes and red leaf lettuce.
- Early bird gets the worm: For the widest selection, get there early. With that said, there is plenty of produce, and there will still usually be something left to bring home even if you get there at the very end.
Winter markets take place throughout the region. Check out the “2016 Winter Farmers Markets” page on ASAP’s website on asapconnections.org. As always, you can find information about which farm stands are open and other farms to visit in the winter months by visiting ASAP’s online Local Food Guide at appalachiangrown.org.