Our area is lucky to have such a great variety of local Farmer's Markets and Pick-Your-Own Farms. Now is a great time to support our local farmers and shop our local markets!
Here are some tips for shopping at Farmer's Markets:
1) Check the Hours weekly.
Hours and vendors are subject to change based on regulations, weather, product availability, and other factors. Be sure to double-check the market's websites before heading out.
2) Pre-order and pre-pay.
Lots of businesses who are at the Farmer's Markets are willing to prepare your order in advance - online or on the phone. Many even allow you to pay in advance so all you need to do is swing by their booth and grab your order.
3) Review the map and/or vendor list before arriving.
The larger Farmer Markets typically have the same businesses return each week so you can find a vendor's list and map on their website. Check out the map before heading out so that you can avoid crowds without missing the booths you're there to see.
4) Cash, Cards, and Snap - find out who takes what before you go.
Many of the Farmer's Markets take cash, credit cards and SNAP, but not all. Check the website before heading out to see if they list what they take. Some vendors inside the market may still only take cash, meaning you'll need to stop at the market tent to purchase Market Tokens to use at the vendors who don't take cards. Having some cash on hand can speed up your shopping.
If you have SNAP, you can use your card on food at the local Farmer's Markets. Combine your SNAP with the Virginia Fresh Match program to double your benefits. Visit the Market Token Tent when you arrive, show your SNAP card and they will give you tokens to use when you shop.
5) Take your own bags.
Take your own bags to avoid additional costs at some vendors. If you're planning to get a lot of products, you may want to take a container or small wagon to carry your items. Check with the market before arriving to make sure wagons are allowed.
6) No pets allowed.
For health reasons, pets are not permitted in the Farmer's Market. (Service animals are welcome.) Please leave your pets at home.
7) Be patient.
Everyone is working hard to make our "current normal" work. Be patient as vendors and customers learn to navigate the new rules and regulations.
At this time Farmer's Markets are requiring that masks be worn. If you arrive without a mask, they will provide you one on your way in.
Now get out there and shop local!