Before we began our full-time RV Life, we would visit Spencer County’s Farmer’s Market. In our little resident town of Taylorsville, Kentucky, we’d shop for freshly home-grown produce and other provisions. For twenty bucks, we could fill our cloth tote bags with organic vegetables and grass fed raised beef, handmade soaps and natural tinctures. For a little treat, we’d bring home a loaf of baked bread or sweet rolls and an occasional bouquet of flowers.
If you’ve never purchased from local farmers, you don’t know what you’re missing. Not only are you supporting your local growers, simply put, the produce tastes much better and is healthier. Rule of thumb though, go early so they don’t sell out prior to getting there. It’s also a great time to catch up conversation and fellowship with the farming community; talking about our families, jobs, school, goings-ons and the weather.
Now as roaming nomads, we still frequent local farmer’s markets. Mostly, they are on Fridays or Saturdays, so knowing that, we load up, stock up, clean and bag, chop, and prep for the next week’s meals.
Get there early…
I try to get there early otherwise, a lot of the vendors will be out of their select produce or be packing up. Then, I feel rushed. I also like to get there early so I can score a decent parking place. I despise having to walk a long way with my tote bags full of heavy potatoes, corn cobs, squash and tomatoes. Its good exercise but….no.
I don’t just shop. I love to ask about their farm, their products and their livelihood. Reciprocally, they ask about our travels. Farmers and their families always seem to be the most friendliest people and are interested in other’s stories and livelihoods. So, in between customers, they love to chat too because it helps pass the time for them.
Cash is cow!
Though I set a budget, I also want to score some of the best produce I can. I never go with a credit card because it just holds up the line and it costs either the vendor a certain percentage (3%-ish) which they eat or pass onto the customer. So, I go in with a bunch of one, five and ten dollar bills; especially if I go in early. I try to give them the smallest bills possible. Oh, and I don’t clean out the bottom of my purse for pocket change. Typically, vendors sell to the nearest dollar; unless they weigh the produce. Even so, I will usually tell them, ‘keep the change’. They deserve it.
When I get to the Farmer’s Market…
Typically, I make a trip around each table to see what they have, making mental notes of who to buy what from first. Although it would be easier to buy from one vendor, I do not. I try to spread our wealth and support all I can, even if it means paying a few pennies more for cucumbers and tomatoes at the next table.
I always thank them for providing their bounties grown with their two hands or their families’. After I make my round, I commit to my mental notes and start shopping. The first table I came to, I bought zucchinis, cucumbers and two varieties of cherries.
Our visit to Salmon, Idaho…
While we were staying at a campground along the Salmon River in Idaho, we visited the Lemhi County Farmer’s Market in Salmon. We saw their flier posted on shop windows throughout Salmon and a banner attached to a building near their park square.
Once we arrived at the Farmer’s Market, Dan left me to shop while he went to pick up some parts at the small hardware store (no big Home Depots or Lowes in these parts!).
After I made my initial round, I started again and stopped The Kitchen‘s booth, I selected a couple zucchinis, cucumbers and two varieties of hand-picked cherries (Dan loves cherries!). I learned the elder lady also owns a local Bed and Breakfast. They are also caterers. I spoke of our travels and I told her I admired their wonderful town.
The younger lady in the photo, The Kitchen’s cat roamed amongst the crowd distracting me. I think he was looking for some hand-picked catnip…and he found some…in the bucket on the ground. It was like a Norman Rockwell painting.
I moved onto the next vendor Baker’s Honey; a husband and wife team who sold their local honey and beeswax. I never buy my honey from a grocery store because 90% is not really honey. Jim and Dolores Baker were awesome to share stories with. I explained that I needed to use the beeswax to make my own balms, lotion bars and chapsticks.
Did I mention that I bought an one pound jar of honey and a one pound block of beeswax for only ten bucks?
Moving quickly to the last vendor of the Farmer’s Market, The Pooch Pantry, this was one of my favorites. They had an array of natural and organic dog and cat treats. Since I couldn’t decide on flavors to buy for our Heeler Granddogs, I bought a little pack of each flavor to send to Colorado where they live.
I also bought some little Salmon flavored cat treats for the Krissie and Kandi and our neighboring RV cat , Chloe, another Maine Coon nomad cat.
Before I left, I made sure to visit one of the local Chiropractors who was handing out their business cards. Ironically, I was looking for one so this was perfect timing. I even made an appointment while I was there.
So we’re stocked up for the next few days. It was fun to buy good local stuff. But, what was the highlight of my Farmer’s Market visit was chatting with the people.
For more information on how RV nomads and travelers find local produce and ingredients…
Ways to Find Healthy Food on the Road (Coming soon!)