Shopping Tips at the Nampa Farmers Market

The cool early morning summer air feels nice as you walk among the booths, looking at the various products and foods that the vendors are selling. Not far from you, a local musical group is playing live music to liven up your shopping experience. You stop and chat with one of the vendors, where you learn about how they grew their potatoes, locally. All of the vendors are local, and each one is personally responsible for the products that they are selling from food to merchandise, and everything is made or grown locally.

Welcome to the Nampa Farmers Market at Lloyd Square. Every Saturday from the last one in April to the last one in October, this wonderful market opens from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., regardless of the weather. Farmers markets are a wonderful addition to any community, and the one in Nampa, Idaho is no exception. When it started in 1989, there were only three vendors and it did not look like the market would survive. But it has, and now there are over 60 local vendors a week. This means you have access to an incredible variety of the freshest and best tasting foods possible, and you get to meet each person that grew, raised, or made the food you are buying. There is no better food experience than the Nampa Farmers Market.

Shopping Tips

A farmers market is not like a grocery store. That should be apparent when you arrive. The first main difference is that the Nampa Farmers Market is an open-air market; everything is outside. The music is performed by live bands, and instead of employees, you get to meet the business owners of every product that you buy. Farmers markets are a social experience, and the Nampa Farmers Market is no different. Because shopping at a farmers market is different, you will need some tips on how to make the most of out of this experience.

Tip # 1- Come Early

Unlike a grocery store, the food, produce, and other products are in limited supply at a farmers market. There are not any extra stocks in the back. What the vendors bring is what they have to sell, so when they run out of something, they are out until the next Saturday. For the best selection, come early, before they have had a chance to sell out.

Tip #2- Bringing Cash

All farmers markets are going to be different. While it has become easier and easier for small businesses and portable marketplaces to accept credit cards with smartphones and tablets, it is always a good idea to bring cash. Bring small bills and change. This will make getting change much easier, as it is not likely that the vendors will have a large supply of change to use. However, the Nampa Farmers Market does also accept debit and credit cards, as well as EBT cards through the SNAP program.

Tip #3- Ask the Vendor

This is an opportunity that you will only have at a farmers market. Ask the vendor questions. See what’s new this time. As the season moves on, different foods will be in season, and when something is in season, it tastes its best. Food from a farmers market will be the freshest you have ever had. You can also ask the vendor if they have any suggestions or recipes for what you just bought.

Tip #4- Bring Your Bag and Cooler

While some vendors might have recycled shopping bags to use, not all of them will. To ensure that you can carry everything that you are buying, you will want to bring your own bags. Take this a step further and bring a cooler (preferably one on wheels so you can move it easier). You can buy milk, cheese, and meat, all fresh and local, and you will want to be able to keep it cool and fresh until you get home.

Tip #5- Bringing Your Dog?

Take advantage of the beautiful morning and outdoor shopping experience by bringing your four-legged friend along. Just make sure your dog is well behaved, and they will have to be leashed at all times. If they make a mess, be ready to clean up after them.

Tip #6- Get Ready to Mingle

Farmers markets are social. Shop with friends, take advantage of the social atmosphere and meet new people and vendors. Don’t be afraid to take your time and enjoy the market. It is a far more relaxed environment and experience than a supermarket or big-box store. All the vendors are local, and you might even know them. So relax, and enjoy a laid back shopping experience.


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