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Seasonal Guides to Produce Prices - What do fruit and vegetables cost at a farmer's market?

Prices of most fruit and vegetables almost always cost substantially less at a real farmer's market than at a grocery store (or a boutique farmer's market, but they do vary by season. When fruits and vegetables are in season locally, the farmers and growers bring them to the local farmer's markets, which are distribution centers for wholesale - and retail - produce. Grocery stores restaurants and neighborhood grocery stores shop there, too; then market the prices up to sell to you. So, go to the genuine farmer's markets to get the best, freshest produce at the best prices.

And keep in mind... you can and should try to negotiate a better price, especially if you are buy full boxes or larger quantities. You'll notice that the prices are usually not posted; that's an indication that they are prepared to negotiate, shop shop around, and politely haggle!Apples

Autumn 2021

Apples

Apples are in season now, typically harvested from August through October. Apple prices usually bottom out in September and early October. We have found that the price of a bushel of apples at a REAL farmer's market ranges from $14 a bushel to $30 per bushel. A bushel is 48 to 52 lbs., so that means the price at a farm or farmers market is between $0.28 and $0.60 per pound. The average price is about $22 / bushel or 44 cents per pound. Grocery stores usually start at $1 per pound!

Summer Squash

Until there is a frost, summer squash like yellow crookneck and zucchini are plentiful and about half the current price of a grocery store.Common varieties of tomatoes

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are usually sold in $25 lb boxes, which is the best price, but you can by smaller or large quantities, In a grocery store you expect to pay $2 to $4 per pound, but a 25 lbs. box of Roma (paste type) tomatoes just cost us $9 or 36 cents per pound.Roma's are perfect for cooking, sauces, pastes, etc with less water and more fruit. Larger Beefsteak type slicing tomatoes cost more; about double the Roma's at $20 for a 25 lbs. box. You can also find tomatillos and green tomatoes, plus some heirlooms and specialty tomatoes.

At right is a picture of tomatoes from my garden - they are so much better than anything from the grocery store. And if you don't have enough, a pick-your-own farm is the pace to go! At right are 4 common varieties that will work:

Top left: Beefsteak Top right: Lemon Boy, yellow
Bottom left: Roma, paste-type Bottom right: Better Boy

The picture at right also shows, at bottom left, the best variety of tomato to use: Roma; also called paste tomatoes. They have fewer sides, thicker, meatier walls, and less water. And that means thicker sauce in less cooking time!

Winter Squash Acorn squashbutternut squash

Winter squash are a hardskinned, long storing squash. Common varieties are butternut, buttercup, acorn, pumpkins, jarrahdale, turban, etc. these can be stored in a cool dry basement or garage for months. Farm market pPrices are usually between 50 cents and $1 per pound.

Retail and Grocery Store Prices

This page has detail about retail prices. These links may also be helpful:

The USDA's Economic Research Service tracks prices for many commonly consumed fresh and processed fruits and vegetables.

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