Shop Like an Urban Local: Farmer’s Market Tips You Don’t Know … Yet.

{ What are your Saturday plans?! Check out your local Public Market + come back with a haul like this. Shout out to Heather Saffer + her frosting empire, better known as Dollop Frosting! }


The Rochester. Public. Market.


I think by now — in this age of Farm-to-Table, Save Money, + Organic/Local Eating — we all know:

It’s the whole: haggle, baggle { bring your own tote }, shop around, find a tomato-guy spiel. Done + done. So whether you’re an O.G. of the underground or a Late Bloomer, I’m going to share some tips you might not know.

The pay-off?
Guaranteed, you will have more fun + find more value.
You will become 1 with the experience of your local Public and/or Farmer’s Market

Last Saturday, I walked to the Rochester Public Market. I bought over 1 lb of locally raised ground beef, 1 dozen locally raised free range eggs, 5 lemons, 1 bunch of kale, 1 pint of cherries, 4 sweet potatoes, 1 eggplant, + I had a free tasting of locally made O’Begley’s whiskey … all for $23. Best part? I made friends + had an adventure doing it. Here’s how:

  1. Off the Beaten Path. Take the Road Less Traveled. Urban living, or not, chances are most of us live within walking distance to our local farmer’s markets. If so, don’t just walk — Explore.
    • Live a Little. I live in the NOTA section of Rochester, which means I’m probably .5 miles away from at least 5 ways to get to the Rochester Public Market. Taking the straight-and-narrow is just too damn bland.
    • Free Stuff. Last Saturday, I discovered 2 different Little Free Libraries on 2 different side streets. I even took a book!
    • Pretty Sites. I also imbibed the sites of quirky houses, colorful gardens, + cute cobblestone paths.
  2. Don’t be a Wallflower. Be Part of the Community. At the Public Market, you are family. Shoppers, farmers, sellers, buyers: it’s one big family festival of sights + sounds, tastes + smells.
    • Step Out. Crowds can overwhelm me, so last Saturday I was very guarded at first. Which is just fine! But so many cool things happened once I opened my face to the sun.
    • Talk to Strangers. I complimented a young lady on her gorgeous locks. As I walked away, she shouted to back to compliment my crazy curls! We both felt thrilled. Right after, another passerby chimed-in — That was really nice! — when she saw me pick up a stray piece of litter that swooped in front of my feet. Talk about friendly.
    • Support our Troops + Community. On the way out, I met a Vet who was giving away paper Poppy’s in request for a donation. He was sweet, funny, + he served our country. What can be more fulfilling than that?
  3. Be Curious, Not Cheap. You Don’t Always Have to HaggleThat is right. You don’t. Especially if you don’t feel comfortable, and especially if prices are already super low. Instead …
    • No Middle Man. Ask questions. Did you know that the woman who supplies all of Wegmans with their eggs has a stand at the Public Market?? Yup. She and her 700,000 { ! } chickens sell lots of eggs, including free-range, for near-half the price you’d find at the super market.
    • Local Meat. Same story for local meat from local farms. After asking some questions on quality, locality, and prices from the people at Heiden Valley Farms, I left with 1 fresh package of never-frozen, locally raised 80/20 ground beef. At these prices, it should be the only type of meat I eat. { Life goals. }
    • Seasonal Produce. Not every single last fruit + veg at your local public/farmer’s market will be from your surrounding area. And that’s okay! But, if you ask the right questions — you’ll discover that this California Kale will soon { 1 month } be replaced by locally grown NYS kale that was recently planted.
  4. Enjoy Yourself. Make Grocery Shopping Fun. The Rochester Public Market can do this. And yours can too. In fact, most public markets are more like festivals than they are chores. That’s because:
    • Brunch. You can grab gourmet, fresh coffee along with breakfast sandwiches and other brunch dishes for quick + for cheap.
    • Dine Solo. It’s super easy to still have a meal and some downtime, even when you are alone. Last Saturday, I grabbed a latte + a chair so I could sit + read before beginning my shopping spree.
    • Free Tastings. If your market is anything like ours’ here in Rochester, there’s going to be wine + liquor, and it’s going to be free. This past Saturday I tasted O’Begley’s locally made Poitin + Whiskey for the 1st time. It was great. And it was cool to learn about the product from the distiller, himself!

If you’re going to Shop Local, might as well do it like a Local. Which means laying down roots, having fun even if there’s no sun, falling in love with your City and Community, + saving a ton of green.



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