** NOTICE: THERE ARE NO PHOTOS IN THIS POST **
26 jars @ $0.61 per jar (that includes tax) = $15.86
Peaches from the Farmer's Market = $16.00 (next time I'll haggle)
Fruitfresh = $3.00 (I'm guessing, because I can't find my receipt)
Total = $34.86/26 = $1.34 per jar
Now, I didn't include the fuel above, but let's say I do. My Chevy Cruze gets (on it's lowest side) 24 mpg and it is roughly 40 miles from my house to the Farmer's Market:
(80 miles/24 mpg = 3.5 gallons of fuel used - there & back = $3.60/gallon at the pump = $12.60
$34.86 + $6.30 (1/2 of the total shared with tomatoes) = $41.16/26 jars = $1.58 per jar if you include fuel.
So I might not have saved much on this little endeavor, but I know what I put in those jars and it includes my blood, sweat and tears. OK, no tears, but definitely sweat. And now to share a few things I learned:
1. Go with knowledge. There is no point in going to any farmer's market if you don't know what the same items cost in your neighborhood grocery store. It's one thing to buy items you purchase on a regular basis because you're used to the average price (like my red pepper for $1 when you buy them for $3 at the store) but when you're buying in bulk knowledge is power.
2. Haggle. There is no harm, as long as you follow point #1. If they don't sell the fruit on the stand that day it will be there the next, and the next until it sells or goes into the garbage. The farmer would rather sell it to you than give it to the garbage man.
3. Tell a friend. You can share the fuel costs and have some company/haggling support.
4. Tell more friends. Spread the fuel costs between even more people. You may not want the entire population of your town tagging along, but if you're up for it put an order together for a few of your closest friends. Get their money AHEAD OF TIME, and factor in your fuel costs to be shared. And have them come to you to pick up their items.
5. Plan ahead. This was my first time at the Farmer's Market so realistically I didn't know what I was getting into. More of a reconnaissance mission, if you will. Now that I know I will be that much more prepared for the next time.
6. Know your neighborhood. After I returned to my town I stopped by the local farmers market in our little downtown. It was there that I learned that one (or more) of the booths with produce for sale pick their items up that morning at the very same farmers market that I visited. Looking through their items it was clear I would have cleaned them out of tomatoes and peaches and I'm sure their prices were higher than what I found at the source. Knowing this I'm sure there are actual farmers somewhere that sell their goods at the local market. I'm wanting to know this of my own neighborhood, so share what you know with a friend.
7. Clean out your trunk/back end. No explanation necessary.
Now I must go and do something else while I wait for lids to pop.