Want to shop the farmers market but unsure of the cost? See why shopping at the grocery store might be a better option!
By Tiffany, Contributing Writer
Farmers markets all over the country are opening their doors and showing off the best produce their fields have to offer, but I’m not going.
Say what?! A real foodie who is purposefully NOT shopping at the farmers market?!
I know that produce from the farmers market was likely picked the day before or even that morning. And I know that spending my grocery dollars at the market is supporting the local farmers. I think both of these is fantastic!
But I also live in a world filled with mountains of laundry, strategic meal plans to fit our tight grocery budget, a home business to run and elementary-aged kids that need to finish their year of homeschool.
In this season of life, going to the farmers market just isn’t in the cards!
I used to feel guilty about this, that I was somehow shortchanging my family by shopping at the grocery store instead of the farmers market. But then I realized that trying to shop at the farmers market was doing my family more harm than good! Shopping the market every week was causing me to be:
- Stressed about the high food prices and going over budget.
- “Mean mom” by barking orders at my kids to hurry up and get ready so we could leave on time.
- Angry at myself for being “mean mom!”
- Second guessing another trip in the car, going against my own strategy on saving gas while shopping.
For many people, shopping the farmers market is the only way to shop.
For others, though, who are going through a season of life that simply doesn’t include the farmers market (like myself), here are 6 reasons to shop the grocery store instead of the farmers market.
Can I get an Amen?
Farmers markets tend to be open for a few hours, once a week, in a location that you don’t get to choose. In the eyes of a busy homemaker, this is the complete opposite of convenient!
Being able to shop while I’m already out running other errands, while the kids are at a play date or even after they go to bed is priceless. Plus, cultivating our urban square foot garden and homeschooling two kids takes up a large portion of each day. There are days where I’m lucky to shower before dinner!
Crafting my schedule around the farmers market just isn’t feasible every week.
This is even more so for mamas in the nap time days. I remember all too well the backlash that came from missing nap time, whether it was altogether or just by a half hour. And if my child fell asleep in the car, all bets were off!
Shopping at the market just isn’t worth a sleepless night.
Although a good portion of the country’s produce is grown where I live, the majority of the fields are operated by large produce companies and not small farmers. By default, there’s a greater variety of food at my local grocery store than the farmers market.
Sure my market might have five different types of bell peppers and four varieties of oranges, but neither my kids nor I need fancy food. We need REAL food!
I’d much rather expose my kids to different types of fruits and vegetables than different varieties of the same one. Not only will they get a broader spectrum of nutrients, but they’ll also be less likely to become picky eaters as they grow up.
Image by Don’t Waste the Crumbs
I’ve used these money-saving tips in the past to help balance our small grocery budget with higher farmers market prices, and I’ve even shopped using this strategy in order to get the most bang for my buck from the farmers.
Still, when you compare the prices as a whole, the grocery store comes out more affordable.
Balancing our teeny budget against quality food is difficult, so I use the stickers on the produce to help me make better choices. Better food choices means a healthier family, and affordable prices means feeding growing kids (and a hungry husband) is a little bit easier each month.
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Although I don’t use coupons nearly as often as I used to, there was a time when they were a necessity. Shopping any place that didn’t take them simply wasn’t an option.
Some of you might need to use coupons to make ends meet, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. If this is you, shopping the market isn’t an option because farmers don’t take coupons.
Image by Don’t Waste the Crumbs
5. Sales and Markdowns
Shopping the sales is vital to our method for eating real food on a budget, and since prices at the market are dependent on several factors (supply, demand, rain, travel, etc.), it’s difficult to budget for everything on the list each week.
At least with grocery stores I can get the same price until the next sale. I can also take advantage of their overstock and bruised produce with hugely marked down prices. We look forward to banana chocolate chip muffins when we find a bag of bruised bananas, and hope we have extras for dehydrated banana chips!
6. One Stop Shopping
Finally, without fail, there is ALWAYS something on my shopping list that I can’t get at the farmers market. It could be a staple like canned tuna or diced tomatoes, or it’s a vegetable I need for the week.
What this means for me is ANOTHER shopping trip. ANOTHER stop at ANOTHER store.
For someone who is already struggling to fit a trip to ONE store into a busy schedule, this is enough to bring this homemaker to tears!
Shopping at as few stores as possible is important with a busy schedule and kids in tow, so I’m okay with choosing the grocery stores instead of the farmers market for this season in life.
Where do you prefer to shop – the grocery store or the farmers market – and why?
For more grocery shopping tips, check out these posts!