With the rise of sustainability and “locavore” movements, farmers’ markets are growing in popularity almost everywhere you look. That's because they're a great way to lay hands on some of the freshest fruits and vegetables while supporting farmers and their families right in your community. Never shopped a farmers’ market before? Don't miss out! North County communities offer an abundance of farmers' markets choices including:

Paso Robles:
Tuesdays from 3-6pm & Saturdays from 9am-1pm in the Downtown City Park.

Wednesdays from 3-6pm at the Albertson's parking lot on El Camino Real.

Baywood/Los Osos:
Mondays from 2-4:30pm at 2nd and Santa Maria Streets by the bay.

Saturdays from 9am-12:30pm in the Town Park.

Here are some helpful tips to make your experience fun, affordable and convenient. 

1. Be sure to bring small cash bills (and change, if you have it). Typically ATM/Debit cards are not accepted. Payment is usually handled at farmers’ stands, not through a check-out line. However at most North County farmers' markets, you can now swipe your debit or credit card at the Manager's Table in exchange for tokens that can be used throughout the market.

2. Old strollers can make for handy shopping carts, plus they fold up nicely for transport to/from the market. Don’t forget any reusable bags you may have at home, too!

3. Don’t haggle for small lots of fruits and veggies. Looking to buy a big box? Then you might suggest a deal.

4. Some of the best tasting fruit may not look waxy and “supermarket fresh.” Don’t let this deter you. Often quality fruit from the farm is never shipped to supermarkets because it’s fragile. Handle gently, and don’t be afraid of minor cosmetic flaws.

5. If you want to ask farmers lots of questions, try to time your visit for very early when the market isn’t slammed.

6. Remember that fresh means seasonal! Go with an open mind, not a “must have” list. Part of the pleasure is discovering what’s at its peak and getting creative with ingredients.

Farmers' markets are a great way to support your community, visit with friends and neighbors, and enjoy fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables. For a list of local markets, visit: http://northcountyfarmersmarkets.com/ and http://www.countryfarmandcraftmarket.com/