Farmer’s Market Shopping Tips

Go early for the best selection.

Check out all the booths before making your choices. There is generally a large and colorful variety of produce and locally-made food products.

Cash is always accepted but many of Colorado farmers’ markets also accept credit cards and Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards that enable food stamp transactions at farmers’ markets.

Bring cloth shopping bags. They are sturdier and much better for corn! Or, reuse clean plastic bags. Insulated bags work well for cold or frozen foods.

Wear comfortable clothing, shoes and sunscreen. Bring a camera since there are great photo opportunities.

Take your time and get to know your local vendors and their foods. Many booths offer cooking tips or recipes.

Try a new item each time you visit a farmers’ market – you may discover a favorite food. Ask the vendor for handling and preparation instructions.

Share the bounty – take some fruit or flowers to a friend or neighbor. Extra produce can also be frozen, dried or canned for out-of-season enjoyment.

Go home soon after making your purchases in order to maintain peak quality. Bring a cooler with cold packs or ice to keep perishable foods cool on the way home. Place delicate produce, like leafy greens, on top of cold packs.

Food Safety Recommendations at the Market…

Keep produce that needs to be refrigerated at home cool at the market. Keep perishable foods on ice or at refrigerated temperatures. What are perishable foods? Foods such as eggs, cheese, meat, cream pies and some types of fresh produce that require refrigeration, like leafy greens. Plan on buying perishable foods last during your trip to the market. Keep hot foods, like roasted peppers, separate from other foods. Reusable cloth and vinyl bags are good options for the market but they need to be washed regularly.

by M. Bunning, Colorado State University, food science and human nutrition, Extension food safety specialist and assistant professor; S. Yeh, graduate student, food science and human nutrition. 3/2010