The Rochester Public Market is known for being one of the best markets in the area. There are very few cities and states lucky enough to have a market as robust.
Every week at the market, there are always a few people who let us know that they have just started coming to the market regularly. Sometimes it’s their first time! It’s great to see people discovering a treasure of local goods and services right in their backyard.
But if you’ve never been to the market, or if it’s been years, here are a few tips that can help you navigate unfamiliar territory. It can be a little overwhelming and we know it! It can get pretty busy during peak hours, so if you’re not one for crowds then the earlier the better. Thursdays are usually a lot less busy and if you are near downtown at all for work or otherwise, it can be a productive shopping event. We’re there on Thursdays from June through October. Click here to see our full market schedule.
Here are our top 5 tips for shopping at the Rochester Public Market:
#1 – Parking
This is by the far the thing that we hear the most about the market. Parking is difficult. It is downtown and parking is always at a premium. There are 5 city owned lots for parking. The largest is between Scio and Union. The second largest is between Pennsylvania and Railroad.
There are also 3 smaller lots. Here’s the information from the Rochester Public Market website on the location of all the lots and where to access:
Another option is to park near by and bike in. If you can’t get there early (before 10am) to get a prime parking spot in one of the free lots this can be a great and healthy option. We are seeing more and more people do this recently. There are some paid for parking areas too.
Now you’ve made it there but what the heck can you do about carrying all your great stuff? There are some great cart options out there and some stores sell them locally. But the best option is a good back pack. It doesn’t have to be the latest and greatest, but just something comfortable that you won’t mind walking with. Bring a lunchbox inside with a cold pack in it for meats and maybe an extra bag in case you find a watermelon or pumpkin that you can’t live without.
Look for a “Day Trip” backpack that is meant for hiking. They have lots of compartments and are meant to be comfortable on your back with weight in it. People also refer to them as rucksacks. An outdoor store like REI has them, as does Walmart. Find something comfortable and then you won’t mind wearing it.
There is at least one cash machine that we know of, but most vendors accept a card. But just to be on the safe side, bring some cash with you in case the vendor doesn’t accept a card. We do with no minimum, but we can’t speak for all vendors. Prices are usually clearly marked on the baskets. Cash or charge there probably won’t be any breaks. You make one break you gotta break for em all!
A very typical question is “Which ones are farmers and which ones are wholesalers?” That can be a tricky one, but there are a few tell tale signs your dealing with a farmer.
-They have a logo. You see a logo, it’s probably a farm. They probably have ‘farm’ in the name. Maybe on T-Shirts or the side of the truck.
-They have dirt. Could be on their hands, shoes, the truck, the boxes… somewhere there is dirt. We grow stuff. It grows in dirt. It’s hard to get it off everything.
-They tell you. When all else fails…ASK! Farmers will tell you if they grew it or not, if it’s on consignment from another farm, or if they traded with a farm, or who’s farm it’s from. Just ask.
Get to know your farmer and your favorite stop at the market and follow them on social media. You’ll know what’s coming out and what’s in season and what other markets they’ll be at.
The wholesalers can have some great stuff and you shouldn’t count them out! But since we’re a local farm we like to see local farms get most of the business!
There are public restrooms in the updated indoor B shed. It’s the main building with the Public Market sign on the front. There are also restrooms in the middle brick building as well. Some businesses may have restrooms but we can’t endorse whether they are open to the public or not. The best option is the B shed. The new bathrooms are updated and very nice. The staff keep them clean even on the busiest days. Thank you very much to the hard workers at the market.
These are probably the most common questions that come up. We hope your market experience is excellent. Getting the freshest local ingredients leads to the best meals.