How to Get the Most Out of Your Local Farmer’s Market

Since it’s Tuesday, I started the day out the same way I usually do each Tuesday, by shopping at my local farmer’s market. The Torrance Certified Farmer’s Market is not only the third-largest farmer’s market in Los Angeles County, but it’s a great gathering place that gives me the feeling that I live in a small town, and each week I look forward to seeing both my farmer friends and my friends from throughout the community.


And because I live in Los Angeles County, it’s also one of the easiest ways for me to support locally grown fruits and vegetables and to develop a relationship with the wonderful people who grow my food.

Shopping at the local farmer’s market is something that most people can do because the USDA estimates that there are over 4,600 farmer’s markets throughout the United States and the numbers just keep increasing. That means there’s bound to be a market in your area nearly every day of the week.

If you haven’t yet shopped at a farmer’s market, you might be wondering what the big deal is. The biggest benefit to shopping at a farmer’s market is that you get the freshest produce available. Often, farmers pick their fruit or vegetables just a day, or even hours, before the market. Not only does this make the produce taste better, it is better for you because it does not lose any vitamins or minerals sitting in a warehouse or traveling thousands of miles.

You will also find dozens of different fruit and vegetable varieties at a single market, compared to the two or three varieties typically found at most grocery stores.

I have also learned that there are some easy and practical things I can do to make the shopping experience even more enjoyable. I thought I’d share these so, here are some tips to make the most out of your shopping experience:

  • Before buying, walk around first and check out all the stands to compare selection, quality and price.
  • To avoid having to dig for your money while loaded down with packages, bring lots of change and small bills and keep it in your pocket or fanny pack.
  • Remember that bags full of produce can get heavy. You might want to consider bringing your own large, canvas shopping bag or shopping cart.
  • Bring a hard container or box to keep your delicate berries, tomatoes, or peaches from being crushed.
  • Take advantage of the fact that this is your weekly hometown market and get to know the growers. Don’t hesitate to ask questions. They are the best sources for identifying the different varieties, explaining how they are grown, and for help on preparing and storing their foods.

If you aren’t a regular farmer’s market shopper but are thinking you’d like to be, the USDA also has a page where you can search for the market nearest check here. Another great resource for finding local farmer’s markets is Local Harvest.


For those in California, there’s a list of certified farmer’s markets provided by the California Federation of Farmer’s Markets. A certified farmer’s market is the “real deal,” meaning that only farmers who grow what they are certified to grow there can sell there.

Judi Gerber


William C
William C10 months ago


W. C
W. C10 months ago

Thank you for the article.

javier v.
javier v9 years ago

que dificil es saber donde comprar aca en mexico las cosas van mal en lo referente a los derechos de los aniamles tanto de aves como de todos espero que todo esto lso ayude a todo y en todas partes para qeu se les repete hagamoslo gracias

Judi G.
Judith G9 years ago

I think I should have more clearly said that is why I recommend people shop at a certified farmers' market. Certification addresses the issues of produce from elsewhere and ensures that the grower sells what he or she has grown themselves. As for quality, that's part of the blessing and curse of farmers' markets, by telliing them what is good and what isn't might help some of that since they don't want to lose customers, their goal is to have more people buy from them.

Judi G.
Judith G9 years ago

That's why I usually always recommend people shop at a Certified Farmers' Market, that way the issues of produce from elsewhere, lower quality, etc. are addressed.

Katherine S.
Past Member 9 years ago

It's also good to know what vegetables are in season and what aren't. Even at farmers markets you'll find people selling produce too early or late in the season for it and it usually goes bad. I got to the farmers market in San Leandro Saturday mornings and it's a great way to start my weekend.

Patsy C.
Patricia Simpson9 years ago

I have been a farmers' market frequent flyer for many years. I have learned that all vegetables and fruits offered at our farmers' market are not locally grown. In season, the Amish & Mennonite stands provide many PA & NJ varieties. A buyer must be knowlegeable of seasonal produce and then question where the "out of season" goods are coming from. Way too many times recently, I have found that the produce has been purchased from other companies (like Produce Junction), including those who import the foods. It's winter in PA, so I avoid the temptation of strawberries, since they are more likely to be contaminated by pesticides from foreign growers and also come with a large transportation health cost from states such as CA. I am nearly as cautious at a F.M. as I am in the larger grocery stores and smaller types such as Trader Joe's. The price may be right for the wallet, but not necessarily for our health.

melissa m.
melissa m9 years ago

I go to the farmer's market In Concord,ca on Tuesdays as well. besides fruits and veggies,there are local bakers selling their bread and other goodies,honey farmers and I can buy plants and flowers. I enjoy seeing what is for sale and asking the farmers where they are from.

Irene K.
Irene K9 years ago

For years I used to sell my fresh produce to local grocery stores albeit my garden is small. However, I never thought of having a stand at a local farmers market-what a great idea, sell good produce and meet new people!