The first is to do a walk through of the whole market before delving into shopping, and the second is to find the Market Information Booth.
Doing a Walk Through
Depending on the size of the market you are visiting, doing a walk through could be as simple as taking a good look at the vendors while you still sit in your car. However, if you are going to attend one of the larger Wichita-area markets, you are going to have to park and actually leave your vehicle to see the whole market!
Doing a quick walk through allows you to generally see what vendors are at the market that day and what they are selling. If you have your shopping list with you, you can compare what you see available with what you are looking for. If you need to adjust your list or plans, it gives you a chance to do that before shopping.
During a walk through, I prefer to stick closer to the center of the aisle. It allows me to move faster, without getting caught up in a line at a particular booth. It also allows me to read general signage and prices without having to interact with the vendors. (Yes, vendors that don’t have legible signage are going to lose my business if I have to go up and talk to them to get basic information!) It can be uncomfortable to talk to a vendor and ultimately decide not to purchase. The walk through helps to minimize those experiences by making sure you know where you are most likely to make a purchase first.
Another thing to watch for during your walk through is where are all the other shoppers congregating? Trust me, the regular shoppers DO know something you don’t know! They are busy swooping up prized items that may be in short supply or that are simply popular! It’s okay to watch the crowd in this case.
With all this in mind, don’t be afraid to stop and buy something during your walk through. Sometimes I do a quick walk through of the market just to see if there are any early-season or end-of-season finds that I could miss out on if I wait until I work my way around to that part of the market. If you suspect there could be a short supply of heirloom tomatoes, strawberries, or some other goody, you want to take the opportunity to buy it as soon as you see it!
Find the Market Information Booth
Not every market will have an information booth, but all the larger markets will. Why visit it? The information booth is a great place to find out about where to find certain vendors, find out general information about the market, and maybe even get a drink of water on a hot day! (Or coffee on a cold day.) If the market accepts SNAP benefits or can swipe credit/debit cards for tokens that you can use like cash, the Information Booth is the place to go to participate in that opportunity.
Once you have done a walk through and visited the Information Booth, you are ready to become a regular market shopper!