This past Friday, my little guy and I took off to our local farmer’s market. This was our first time going together, and I know he was excited to see all the food plus get to spend some one-on-one time with mom.
It was a beautiful day out. The sun was beaming, the sky was gorgeous, the temperature was just right and the entire area smelled like fresh greens and kettle corn. I don’t know, maybe it was the excitement of being able to support local farmers. Maybe it was being in the presence of hippie-looking ladies wearing head scarves and maxi skirts. Maybe it was the free sample of fresh watermelon I tasted when I first arrived or looking at all the beautiful colors of produce. But something in the air was just relaxing, peaceful and happy.
Now that I have been growing a small garden myself I can appreciate how much work and knowledge goes into all the gorgeous fresh fruit and vegetables folks there are selling. And it makes me happy knowing that all the food at the market was locally grown, many without pesticides or chemicals.
I love the Farmer’s Market, but I have been wondering if the prices are lower or higher than going to the grocery store.
So I did some research.
I started collecting the prices on everything that day at the market. Then scooted on over to Winco grocery to get all their prices as well. Here is my collected data:
Farmers Market prices vs. Winco grocery store prices
**The lowest price is marked in red.**
Jalapenos (Farmers Market) 5/$1.00 or $1.50lb — (Winco) $0.78 lb
Green Bell Peppers (Farmers Market) 3/$1.00 — Winco $0.68 lb
Tomatillos $1.49 lb. $1.25 lb. — (Winco) $0.78 lb
Vine Ripe Tomatoes $1.49 lb — (Winco) $0.88 lb
Green Beans $2.50 lb. — (Winco) $1.28 lb
Sweet Corn 2/$1.00 — (Winco) $0.33 each
Red potatoes $1.50 lb. $1.59 lb. — (Winco) $0.98 lb
Baby potatoes $3.00 lb. — (Winco) $1.98/1.5 lb. bag
Kale $2.00 $3.00/bunch — (Winco) $1.48 each
Zucchini (Farmers Market) $0.88 lb — (Winco) $0.88 lb
Yellow squash 3/$1.00 — Winco $1.28 lb
Gray Zucchini 3/$1.00 — Winco $0.98 lb
Serrano or Super Chilis 20/$1.00 — Winco $1.28 lb
Cucumbers (Farmers Market) 3/$1.00 4/$1.00 $1.50 lb. — Winco $o.88 each
Carrots $3.00/bunch $1.00/bunch — Winco $0.48 lb
Fresh Herbs (Farmers Market) $2.00-$3.00/bundle — Winco $2.98-$4.99
Eggplant $1.00 lb. $2.00 lb. — Winco $1.98 each
Cabbage $2.00 — (Winco) $0.58 lb
Walla Walla Sweet onions (Farmers Market) 2/$1.00 $0.75/lb — Winco $0.78 lb.
Yellow Onions 3/$1.00 — Winco $0.48 lb
Plums $2.00 lb. — (Winco) $0.88 lb
Rhubarb (Farmers Market) $2.00 lb or 3 lbs/$5.00 — Winco $2.28 lb
Fresh blueberries (Farmers Market) $4.00/18 oz., $3.50/pint, Flat/$35 20lb boxes/$60 ($3 lb) — (Winco) 16 oz. $2.98 = abt. equal if you are buying in bulk
Fresh Peaches 12 lb. box $8.00, $2.00 lb., $1.50 lb. $16/box — (Winco) $0.98 lb
Organic Apricots (Farmers Market) $1.50 lb — Winco $1.98 lb.
Raspberries $3.00/container or $15 for 6 — (Winco) $3.98 12 oz.
Raineer Cherries (Farmers Market) $3.00 lb — Winco $4.98 lb.
Hermiston Seedless Watermelon $0.49 lb. — (Winco) $0.38 lb.
Nectarines $2.50 lb. — (Winco) $0.98 lb
Apples (Farmers Market) $1.50 – $2.50 lb. — Winco $1.99 lb
A few other farmers market prices just in case you were interested..didn’t get comparing prices on these at Winco
- Red onions $2.00/bunch
- Radish $2.00/bunch — $0.58 ea
- Yukon Gold Potatoes $1.50 lb. $1.59 lb
- Fresh Garlic 3/$1.00 — Winco $0.38 each
- Elephant Garlic 2/$4.00
- Chard $3.00/bunch
- Heirloom Tomatoes $2.50 lb.
- Pesticide free Beefsteak tomatoes $1.99 lb.
- Cherry Tomatoes $2.00/container
- Beets $2.00/bunch $3.50/bunch $1.00/bunch
- Leeks $2.00
- Winco Hot House tomatoes $0.98 lb
- BiColor Corn 3/$1.00/ 2/$1.00
- Anaheim peppers 10/$1.00
- Inferno Peppers 5/$1.00
- Gipsy Pepper 4/$1.00
- Hermiston Seeded Watermelon $0.39 lb. –
- Blackberries $2.50/container
- Orange & Green Honeydew melon $0.59 lb
- Cantaloupe $4.50 each
- Fresh Blueberries 4 lb. bag $12.00
- Organic Diamond Princess Peaches $2.00 lb. or 25lbs for $25
Which one has better prices?
From tallying them all up 16 times on this list Winco beat the Farmers Market price, and 9 times the Farmer’s market beat out the Winco price. So I am going to say that the winner for the majority of lower prices is the Grocery store vs. Farmers Market.
I love that the Farmer’s market is fresh, local and mostly organic. Some of the time you don’t know for sure if the items in the farmers market are organic or pesticide free though. I once asked a blueberry seller if their blueberries were organic and they said no. They spray. So that being said, I can’t say for sure all the items are organic or pesticide free. If they were then the farmers market would probably beat out the organic produce prices in grocery stores. The Winco store I went to did not carry many organic items.
Which one has better produce?
I think I am biased to the feeling I get when I go down to the Farmer’s Market. It’s such a happy peaceful place and I love supporting local growers. However if I took away that feeling, and just looked at the produce I think it can be pretty comparable. For example, fresh green beans and seedless watermelon were both in season when I went to the farmers market. Both the store and market carried watermelon from Hermiston (which is 30 minutes away from where I am) and the quality was the same. The green beans from both places looked beautiful as well. So I think they are both equally the same when it comes to product.
My vote is…
Gosh, that is a tough one. I love Farmer’s Markets. Love love love. But if I was on a tight budget I would stick with the grocery store.
A few Tips to help you Save at the Farmers Market
Make sure you walk through the whole market and take note of the prices of the items you are looking for before making your purchase. Many sellers offer the same fresh produce and some have different prices. I wanted some fresh green peppers and many had them 2/$1.00 but a couple of vendors had them for 3/$1.00. It pays to look around before you purchase.
Make sure you bring cash with you. Not many of them have a swiper for a credit card at their stands. I brought $20 with me and spent about $15.
Sometimes farmers will drop their prices right before time to close to ensure they sell everything they brought with them that day. If you wait sometimes you can save up to ½ off what the price was. But this can be risky too, because if they sell out of the item you want, it’s gone.
All in all it was a wonderful day for me and my son at the farmer’s market. I can’t wait to go again.
If you’re wanting to check out all the fun for yourself, check out LocalHarvest.org to find the nearest farmer’s market or comparable grocery near you.
What do you think? After looking at the prices are you going to stick with grocery store or farmers markets for fresh produce?