For purposes of saving I am looking at this from a monetary point of view. While I would much rather always support a local a local farm, sometimes money really is the final factor when on a tight budget!
That’s right folks, you need to know what the produce costs in your local supermarket. If my local supermarket is offering “Local Grown Peaches” for .69 cents a pound but they are $1.25 at the market stand, well I would buy the supermarket peaches. However if i needed 10 lbs of peaches and the farmer gave me a discount on culls, well that is a whole other story.
- If the price is close or your are buying a large quantity ask for a discount. The worst the farmer can say is “No”.
- If you are making jellies or jams, ask about the culls. Culls are less than perfect, sometimes bruised, or otherwise not pretty looking. Farmer stands will typically sell these at discount but there is nothing wrong with them other than some rough edges.
- Come towards the end of the day. You may miss out on the more popular fruits and vegetables but anything the farmer has left is typically discounted. If not, then you may always ask.
Sigh. You really would think this would be a no brainer but I can not begin to tell you how many, for lack of a better term, yuppie farm markets there are in South Carolina, and our home state of New Jersey. Sure they sell lots of local produce but the mark-up is insane, sometimes double of what you would pay in the store. If they are charging more than a supermarket and it isn’t organic produce, than you have stumbled upon a bad farm market. These farm stands and market are typically peddling local farm goods but because they are a middle man they need to be able to turn a profit, hence the higher prices. Still i will admit, that towards the season end, they too lower their prices.