Here in Iowa, farmer’s markets are really starting to ramp up. It’s no longer just rhubarb and asparagus, but beans, peas, and so much more. Most weeks, it’s a better value to purchase produce from your local farmer’s market instead of the grocery store. I’ve most likely told you about this a million times before, Local Harvest is a great site to find farmer markets in your area.

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Ames is especially rich in this sense. We have two farmer’s markets: one is more professional farmers and the other is more gardener’s and crafters. Having both is a really fun mix.

Farmer’s markets are not just about fruits and veggies. I can also get all kinds of local meat. We have a few people who sell goat, grass fed beef, and delicious pork. I actually have a few friends who sell eggs from the chickens they raise here in town too.

:: When you go to a farmer’s market, don’t be afraid to walk around–especially in smaller markets–before deciding what to purchase.

:: Take advantage of the fact that you get to meet the people who raised your food. Ask them about gardening, their animals, or why they decided to farm. They are usually as passionate about growing as you are eating.

:: If you see an unusual vegetable or fruit, ask about it. Usually the vendor will share their favorite way to cook it if you give them a little prod.

To bring it back to crafting, market bags are really great to use at farmer’s markets. I use reusable, fabric tote bags for all my solid items and then crocheted market bags for the produce. If I’m not going home right after the farmer’s market, I bring ice packs for my perishables.

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Here are a few of my favorite market bags:

:: Crocheted Market Bag – Posted on the Classic Elite Site, I really think this one is neat, it’s more narrow that I’m used to seeing.

:: Handicrafter Cotton – String Market Bag

:: Large Plastic Market Bag This bag is actually made out of old plastic grocery bags! Neat-o!

:: Monica Brown’s Crochet Market Bag – this pattern costs $5, but it is really nice and I think it would be worth it. I would love to carry this cute crocheted bag around on market day!

:: I found this bag on Craftzine. It’s a Lion Brand Pattern. I have to admit, they are getting better. The organic cotton isn’t half bad. (Yikes! did I just say that!?) Here is another market bag from Lion Brand: Cotton Ease Market BagHere’s a great list of market bags of all sorts on TipNut.

:: Of course the crochet pattern central section on Totes, Purses, and Bags is always a great place to look around for bag patterns.

What’s your favorite market bag pattern? Do you go to farmer’s markets? Any tips for readers who are new to them?

Enjoy the market!
Kristin Roach