How to Make the Most of a Trip to the Local Farmers’ Market

Elderly woman choosing and buying healthy vegetables in farmers' market.

For many of us, one of the best parts of summer in Indiana is being able to spend time outdoors. After a long winter that kept many people, especially seniors, stuck indoors much of the time, warmer temperatures are a welcome change. If you are looking for new ways to enjoy the great outdoors this summer, consider visiting your local farmers’ market. Most open in May and run through October.

Besides the boost in spirit that comes from breathing fresh air, other benefits that older adults can gain from going to farmers’ markets include:

  • Budget-friendly options for produce, plants and baked goods
  • Opportunity to walk for exercise in an attractive environment
  • Access to organic, locally grown fruits, vegetables and herbs

If you want to make the most of your market trips this summer, we have a few helpful suggestions.

Tips for Shopping at Your Local Farmer’s Market

  • Visit the market online: You might want to start by checking out the farmers’ market website or Facebook page. Event organizers often post a list of vendors and what each one sells. They may also have a printable map with the location of each vendor. That can help you plot your route before you head out, so you won’t overlook a booth you are interested in exploring. You can also use the map to find handicapped parking and public restrooms.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothing: Sunny days at outdoor events require the right apparel, and farmers’ markets are no exception. You’ll probably encounter uneven sidewalks and pavement, so sneakers or sturdy walking shoes are likely a better choice than sandals. Dressing in layers might also help, depending on the time of day you visit. And, of course, you’ll want to protect yourself from sunburn by applying sunscreen and wearing good quality sunglasses. A hat that shields your face can also help.
  • Bring cash and your own shopping bags: Another tip to make your outing easier is to bring a reusable shopping bag or two. Make sure they are strong enough to hold produce and have solid handles. You should also be prepared to pay cash or use Venmo. While many vendors do accept credit cards, the fees can be tough on small business owners’ profit margins.
  • Get to know the vendors: Another tip is to get to know the growers and other vendors who bring their goods to the market. You can learn a lot from them. Ask for suggestions on how to prepare and store produce. Flower and plant vendors can offer tips on caring for the items you purchase. You’re also likely to find produce you’ve never tried before, such as kohlrabi or yard-long beans. Ask food vendors for serving ideas and whether goods should be refrigerated or frozen.
  • Determine when to shop: After a visit or two, you’ll probably figure out the best and worst times to shop. That will help you avoid the crowds, if your schedule is flexible. Generally speaking, after-work hours tend to be peak times for markets. Better times might be when the market first opens or the last hour before it closes. Shopping right before closing may net you a few bargains from vendors who don’t want to haul unsold items back home. The downside of waiting, however, is you run the risk of popular items being sold out.

If you aren’t sure where to find a farmers’ market near you, use the Indiana Farmers’ Market Community of Practice website to find a few in your area.

Nutrition and Healthy Aging

Fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs are the mainstay items at most farmers’ markets. Before you head out to do your shopping, it might be helpful to read You Age How You Eat: Nutrition Tips For Seniors. It has valuable information on how diet can play a role in healthy aging.

To read more articles by American Senior Communities, visit

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