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Every Saturday, 8 a.m. to Noon, Rain or Shine • Click here for a map
2220 Ventura Boulevard, Old Town Camarillo • A project of Camarillo Hospice

© 2013 Camarillo Hospice Corporation, 400 Rosewood Avenue, Suite 102, Camarillo, CA • (805) 389-6870 • Visit the Camarillo Hospice website

1: Go as early as you possibly can. The best stuff is available early — from flowers to lettuce to loaves of French bread.

2. Do not haggle. Often, people are told to go to the market later in the day when farmers won’t want to drag their stuff home, and see whether they can get a bargain. That’s not true. Farmers work very hard and would rather take farmers market leftovers to restaurants and others to get their asking price. Or — like squash, apples and other more durable produce — they can bring them back next week.

3. Don’t expect bargains. Farmers market prices are competitive with most local grocery stores. Farmers work very hard to produce the food they bring to market, and they have a lot of costs they need to recoup. The prices are set to a point where the farmers can make a small profit, but not much more.

4. Make friends with your farmers, but don’t expect everyone to be an expert. Many larger farms hire people to drive their food to market and sell it. So the person behind the counter may not be an expert.

5. But do feel free to ask where the food comes from. Even the hired hands have to know where the food is grown. If the answers don’t make sense, be cautious.

6. Ask before sampling. Just because the strawberries look tempting, doesn’t mean you can start handing the fruits from that lovely quart basket to your screaming kids. Ask for samples, and in most cases, they will be happily provided.

7. Be aware of people around you. If you’ve deposited yourself in front of the gem lettuce as you catch up with your favorite farmer, be aware that a line is forming and there are others who might want to get to the produce.

8: Avoid produce that doesn’t grow locally or is out of season. If you see watermelons in the spring or pineapples, mangoes and bananas, the purveyor is buying wholesale and reselling at the market. There has been a crackdown on the practice, but you are the first line of defense. If you see something questionable, avoid it.

(Tips courtesy of Anne Kallas, Ventura County Star)

 

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