Monday, May 11, 2015

Farmer's Market Tips and Treasures!

I love that there is a Farmer's market on nearly every day of the week in the Milwaukee area. There is so much more to find than plants and produce.
This Saturday I discovered a great cup of joe brewed from freshly roasted beans, by Magellan Coffee Roasters.
 My daughters loved the apple cider donuts just a few booths away at the New Berlin Farmer's Market.  I would too, if they were gluten free.  But the aromatic cup of java thrilled this mama more than the tempting sugar coated dunkers.   
Honey and maple syrup are some of the sweet finds that are staples in our families pantry. As you may recall for my fighting seasonal allergies post, we love our local honey.   Fresh maple syrup is a great compliment to stack of pancakes, and they even have a cinnamon flavor, yum!
 If you are heading our to the local farmer's market here are some tips from the merchants.
1. The early bird gets the worm.  If you are wanting to get the most out of your market experience arrive early.  The best produce goes early.
2. Bags & totes are the in thing.  Bring your own cloth bags.  They are not only eco-friendly, they are more durable and can hold heavier objects like melons.  I am a HUGE fan of the thirty-one large utility totes and light weight thermal coolers.
3. Small bills pay big.  Bring cash in small bills, making change for large bills can clear out a merchant's till.  Most merchants accept credit cards now, but they in turn have to pay a small fee on average 3% of their sale.  Cash doesn't cut into the merchant's already slim profit margin.
4. It's a Family Thing. Children and pets are welcome at most market's.  My children love seeing the variety offered at the market. They see great examples of hard working folk and community comradery.  Many markets even welcome your furry pals, and some merchants have special treats for man's best friend.  But make sure to check the market's rules before including your pet.
5. Try something new every week. There are so many incredible products to choose from and being a family on a budget we try to spend our dollars with a different merchant each week. Though we do have weekly favorites, like apple cider donuts and Kettle corn.
This Saturday was the debut market for Andrea's Sweet Shoppe, and her darling cookies are on my girl's wish list for next week.
     Locally raised, hormone and antibiotic free meats are on my weekly wish list. I definitely will definitely sample some of Wisconsin's finest cheeses from time to time.  I love the muenster pepper cheese from Decatur Dairy.   Each year we love dipping into the flavorful salsas, some are very hot and others not.  If you think you can take the heat, Mark's Secret Stuff is one you must try when you visit the New Berlin Farmer's Market.


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