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10 Farmers Market Shopping Tips!

Strawberries, radishes, garlic scapes, kale, kale, and more kale! (not what's in the photo, but what I bought at the market!!). Photo recipe below :)This pa
Jun 25, 2012 | Joy McCarthy

Strawberries, radishes, garlic scapes, kale, kale, and more kale! (not what's in the photo, but what I bought at the market!!). Photo recipe below :)

This past Saturday Dave Gerry (host of Global TV's Morning Show) and I went to film a segment at Evergreen Brickworks Farmers Market. I loved every minute of it because Evergreen is one of my favourite markets in Toronto.

Why is it my faves? Well, it's mostly organic and non-GMO, local and completely charming. I can't think of a better way to spend an early Saturday morning than perusing a market full of delicious, local and seasonal foods!!

The segment will likely air next week, but here are some of the tips we discussed to make your farmer's market a very joyful experience!

1. Bring cash with you. Most farmers do not accept plastic and this saves you the $1.50 or more service fee at the ATM.

2. Bring your reusable bags with you. Even better, be stylish and stash your goods into a Rume (ReUseMe) bag like I do.

3. Do a walkabout of the whole market before you buy. Otherwise, you will spend all your cash in one corner and this ensures you get the best deal as well.

4. Go with an empty belly. Normally when grocery shopping I would suggest the opposite so you avoid buying junk. However, this is the one exception (plus you won't find very much junk food at a farmers market)! There are always samples (like the amazing honey mustard I tried on Saturday) to try. And there is often a prepared foods section at most markets where you can sit down and have a delicious breakfast or snack.

5. Buy the heavy items last. Don't get weighed down by that 5lb bag of sweet potatoes.

6. Bring a small cooler in your car. If you plan on buying items that require refrigeration. You don't want that precious goat yogurt to go bad!

7. Don't be a cheap ass and ask for a deal, please. Remember, you are supporting the local economy. In most cases, you are paying the farmer directly who harvested those garlic bulbs.

8. Get to the market by 8am.Especially with items like local strawberries -- they go like hotcakes. So if you nap till noon and expect berries, you might be outta luck.

9. Ask questions!! Learn about the food you are buying and the best way to prepare it. Farmers are often happy to share their fave recipe ideas with you.

10. Have fun! Don't go with time constraints. When you visit a farmers market, it's a wonderful experience and opportunity to enjoy every joyous moment.

A few more tips:

Here's a great Toronto Farmer's Market Guide for 2012: and an Ontario wide farmers market guide:

Want to know what's in season at the market? Here's an availability guide of fruits and vegetables: (please note, if you are reading this outside of Ontario, than it will vary).

Oh and do be sure you get some fresh, local organic strawberries before they are gone so you can eat what I had for a powersnack today (as photo'd above)!

In that bowl, I threw together the following:

2 schlops of greek yogurt

Granola which consisted of: spelt oat-like flakes, raisins, pumpkin seeds, dried coconut

 2 spoonfuls of chia seeds

8-9 strawberries

Before I go, check out a short video I did at Sorauren Farmer's Market (scroll halfway down to get to the video) equally as charming as Evergreen!

Have a joyous day!


Jun 25, 2012 BY Joy McCarthy
Gillian   •   June 25, 2012

Great tips Joy! Love the "don't be a cheap ass", hilarious and true!

Joy McCarthy   •   June 25, 2012

Erin @ The Grass Skirt   •   June 26, 2012

Great tips, Joy! I once did a post with some of my tips, if you're interested. :)


Kareen   •   June 27, 2012

Hey Joy! I love your blog and I'm a regular reader. This time, I'm going to play devil's advocate on tip #7 "Don't be a Cheap Ass" and say that sometimes, negotiating is the best part of going to a real market! But only when it's done in good spirit. Sometimes you can tell that they like you and will give you a special little discount. And sometimes you can tell when they're really serious that they can't go lower on a price. You just have to read each other and over time, build that friendly rapport. This is what makes markets dynamic and lively, as opposed to your grocery store chains where there is really no humor at all.

Hamilton Realtor   •   July 23, 2012
Kristina   •   July 1, 2013
Kristina   •   July 1, 2013

Jane   •   July 10, 2012

Some pretty smart tips, Joy! I am a regular at St. Lawrence Market , since I live nearby. And by going regularly, you learn by your mistakes, right? The best thing about this market is that the vendors are so wonderfully open and friendly (not that they all wouldn't be in most of the farmers markets) but I became really good friends with some of them. My addition to your list would be to talk to the owners, showing your appreciation of their hard work, they might have a pretty nice piece hidden under the counter prepared just for you the next time you show up!


My visit to the farmers’ market, Healthy Grocery Shopping Video + The Dirty Dozen & More! |   •   July 21, 2012

[...] In case you missed my segment a couple of weeks ago from the Global Toronto Morning show, host Dave and I visited Brickworks. In the video, I share tips to make your farmers market visit more joyous. And I’ve listed more of them right here: [...]

Reply   •   December 19, 2012

10 Farmers Market Shopping Tips! |, ended up being a great blog title to give this particular blog post. Where exactly can I actually browse even more pertaining to this?


Joyous Health   •   April 24, 2013

[...] Hopefully you are already filling your grocery cart with delicious and nutritious foods. Farmers Market season is upon us, so here are some tips to make your shopping experience as joyous and budget-friendly as possible [...]


spanish fly   •   September 3, 2014

Hey there! I've been following your site for some time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Lubbock Texas! Just wanted to tell you keep up the good work!

Kate McDonald Walker   •   September 4, 2014

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