Shopping at one of Ottawa’s many farmer’s market is the hight of eating locally – you can’t do much better unless you go to the farm and pick the items your self. But this is a little easier! It can be expensive however, and when you are living on a budget it maybe one of the first things to go. But it doesn’t have to! Here are some tips to help you shop frugally at your local farmer’s market.

1. Shop at the end of the day. A couple nights ago Hubby and I were walking through the Byward market as it was closing and one of the vendors gave me 50% off deal on any of her berries. They were just as beautiful as any full priced berry, but this way the seller didn’t have to pack up any of the fruit.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask for a deal. A week ago hubby and I were discussing whether to get the rhubarb or the asparagus with our last bit of cash, each item was $3 but all we had left was a $5, after listening to us for a moment, the vendor agreed to take our $5 for both items. Just goes to show you that prices aren’t written in stone – there is some flexibility. That said – it isnt’ a garage sale. Don’t try to haggle too hard and be respectful.

3. Buy plants. You can purchase 2 herb plants from the market for about $5 – less when it gets later in the season. For the same price you can get 2 or 3 containers of herbs from Loblaws. But with some TLC and a bit of luck from the garden gods, your plants will be providing you with fresh flavour for much longer.

4. Make sure what you are buying is really in season. There are times during the season when markets are selling things they they too have imported as they wait for their own product to grow. Make sure you ask questions and are truly getting local produce for your money.

5. Scan as much of the market as possible first before making a purchase. While most of the prices are competitive and similar, there may always be that chance of a bumper crop from one of the farms resulting in a lower price that particular day.

Do you have any tips for saving money while shopping at the farmers market?? Leave them in the comments section! I’d love to hear them.