LaToya Drake

LaToya Drake Barren County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences

Farmers market season is in full effect. Barren County residents may shop from area producers every Saturday on the Square at the Bounty of the Barrens Farmers Market and during the week on Tuesdays and Fridays at the Barren County Regional Farmers Market beside the County Health Department.

Many times we can be tempted to overspend at the market due to all the abundant, fresh produce and other homemade items available, but shopping the market doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are some tips to avoid overspending at the market while getting the freshest produce available and supporting local farmers.

Start with a list. Just like shopping at a grocery store, make a list of the items you need before you go to the market. Buy produce that is in season. Not only is it at its peak of freshness, but this is also the time when it is most abundant, which can result in lower prices. In season vegetables include but are not limited to cucumber, peas, radishes and turnips.

Budget an amount for the farmers market and shop with cash. Shopping with cash can help curb impulse buying. However, you may want to budget in a few extra dollars to try something new. Keep in mind that small bills help growers make change easier.

Since the produce is picked at the peak of freshness, it may not have as long of a shelf life as produce bought at a store. Unless you plan on freezing or canning your excess produce, buy only the quantity of a particular item that you need for the next few days. If you plan on freezing or canning a large amount of a particular product for later, you can ask if the vendor will give a bulk discount.

Depending on your needs, you may either want to shop the market when it first opens or near closing time. If you want the best selection or are worried the vendors will run out of a particular item, shop early. Shop about 30 minutes before closing if you are looking for deeper discounts. Often, vendors may mark down some items to avoid bringing them home.

More information on saving money and recipes featuring in season produce is available through the Barren County Extension Service. Join the County Extension Agent at the Bounty of the Barrens Farmers’ Market on Saturday, June 29th to sample the Plate It Up Kentucky Proud Tex-Mex Quinoa Salad Recipe.

Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expressions, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.

Upcoming FCS Related Extension Programs

Recipe

June 12-Love Loud at the garden-9 a.m. to noon-Community Garden

June 19-Cooking with the calendar-10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.-BCEO

June 21-Branding through photography-noon-BCEO

June 25-The good credit game date night-5:30 p.m.-BCEO

June 29-Food demo at the farmers market-10 a.m.-Barren County Square

Drake is the Barren County Cooperative Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences.