Shop local, often

Recently, Hudson launched it’s first Farmers’ Market.  I couldn’t be happier!  It’s a great fit for downtown Hudson!

Having run a farmers’ market and frequenting many of them in area – here’s some of my advice if you haven’t been to one before.

 1 Talk to the vendors!

Vendors aren’t going to hard sell you on their products, I mean, a vegetable is a vegetable.  But know that they love to talk to people!  I have  worked plenty of booths where I say “hello” to anyone who comes in and so many people react startled or shy away thinking I’m about to hard sell them something.  Nope, I just wanted to say hi and make sure you don’t have any questions.


2 They won’t have bananas.

Shopping at a farmers’ market means local produce.  They don’t and shouldn’t have bananas.  Understand too, that things are seasonal so in early June they likely won’t have much more than greens and maybe some root vegetables.  

3  It’s ok to ask what it is.

Kholrabi…what is that thing?!  How do I cook it?  How is it grown?  Vendors are happy to share with you a favorite recipe for something or a good use of an item they are selling (like a particular soap you can use to wash your dog after they get sprayed by a skunk).  Go ahead, ask!  (that’s kohlrabi below, in case you were wondering and it makes a yummy slaw or fritters!)

4  Bring your reusable bags

Sure – vendors will have plastic bags, but if you can do your part to reduce cost on them and reduce the amount of plastic bags we use, that’s even better!

 

5  Keep an open mind!

Many of us (especially those of us who are Type A like me) want to make a solid list for our shopping and stick to it, but you never know what you will find at the market.  Maybe there will be fresh soft shell crabs available, maybe a bunch of peaches just got picked this morning, or perhaps you find there’s an out of this world granola.

6 Support it however you can!

I know that it’s not always easy to get to the market.  It maybe during your work hours or maybe on weekends while you’re away, but try your best to get out there when you can and share it with other people.  If people don’t support it, the market will close.  Also – don’t be afraid to provide feedback, like “could you stay open one hour later” or “can you help with parking issues”.  Having been a Market Manager, I know that we do our best to be accommodating but this is also not a supermarket.  While you’re shopping at the market and run right home to cook up your goodies…that farmer has to pack everything up, drive home, unload it, tend to some of their farm duties and then maybe consider dinner.

 

So what will you find at a typical farmers’ market in New England?  Here’s an idea:
-Coffee and tea – yes by the cup or a pound of coffee or loose leaf tea
-Lots of veggies, berries and stone fruit
-Free range meat and eggs
-Milk and Cheese
-Wine from a local winery
-Artisan Handcrafted goods like soap, alpaca wool and such
-Seafood
-Live music
-Pet treats and goodies