Well hello fellow market-goers,
Last Saturday, I went to St. Petersburg’s Saturday Morning Market and made some mistakes. It totally changed my experience and I thought I would share some of the lessons I have learned. These are just the top five market going necessities so that you can have a great time and score awesome deals on fresh goods.
1. Always check the weather.
Many markets have a “rain or shine” policy, but that doesn’t mean that you really want to brave the weather. Also, the market’s policy does not necessarily mean your favorite vendor will comply. Most vendors have an online presence, so you can check their sites to see whether they plan to set up on rainy or cold days. “Liking” them on Facebook will not only keep you updated on their market schedules, but it is also a great way to encourage these vendors continue.
2. Hit the ATM before you go.
I do most of my buying with my handy debit card and I know I’m not alone. However, many vendors at fresh markets only accept cash. Though there is usually an ATM on site, they typically have a surcharge. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather use that $3 on fresh pineapple juice.
3. Know where to park.
Parking can sometimes be a challenge at fresh markets. They are often set up in a place where there is limited street parking. If you can, avoid paying parking garages or meters by parking a little further. In downtown areas where these markets are located, there are plenty of free 2 hour parking spots. I prefer these for a few reasons. One, I LOVE to save my money. Two, I usually don’t have to compete with pedestrians and other cars to get a spot. Finally, the walk is actually very nice. Carpool with a friend and enjoy the stroll; a little exercise never hurt anyone.
4. Bring tote bags.
I like to do my produce shopping at the fresh market, but having plastic bags heavy with fruits and veggies is only bearable for a little while. Getting your produce early ensure that you’ll get a wider selection of the best produce. However, trying to hit every tent shopping for unique jewelry or organic soaps with plastic bags is hard. Tote bags hold more so that you don’t look and feel like a bag lady. The material is also easier on the wrist. And bonus, they rarely break!
Canvas totes can be purchased cheaply at grocery stores and can be used there as well. Less paper and plastic makes a cleaner Earth and saves them money. They are also way cuter than plastic.
5. Strike closer to closing.
So like I said earlier, shopping for produce earlier gives you a better selection. If you are tying to bulk buy on a budget though, waiting till almost closing is a good idea. Often nearer to the end, vendors will greatly discount their leftover edibles. They won’t be fresh by the next market and the vendor’s don’t want to lose money on them. Wait around, discounts seem to strike the last 20 minutes.