With all the ways our food has been changed and processed over the last fifty years, more and more people are coming to realize that the quality of their food is crucial for long-term health. They’ve started looking for food sources that are direct and can be trusted to provide quality produce and foods that haven’t been heavily processed.
Where can we look for these sources? One great source is your local Farmer’s Market!
Shopping at the farmer’s market is a great way to support local farmers and enjoy fresh, seasonal produce. It is an enjoyable way to spend a morning or afternoon, perusing the stalls to find fresh produce and homemade goods.
If you are interested in shopping for most of your produce through farmer’s markets but haven’t yet taken the plunge, here are some key tips for shopping efficiently when you dive in and begin shopping at your local farmer’s market.
Before heading to the market, create a meal plan for the week. This will help you know what to look for so you don’t bring home a bunch of produce you never use. It’s also a good idea to research the different vendors in the market so you can have a better idea of what you can get from each vendor.
Understand the Seasonality of the Market
Most farmer’s markets are seasonal and are often only open during the warmer months through summertime. Along with the seasonality of the markets, vendors only sell produce that they can grow during the season, which means that some fruits and vegetables may be plentiful while others may be scarce. Knowing what is in season at the farmer’s market will help you plan your meals based on what you can get in season and help you avoid disappointment.
Because you are buying fresh and local produce, the exact selection may vary from week to week. Don’t be discouraged if a vendor doesn’t have exactly what you are looking for. Instead, keep an open mind and try new things!
Like the old saying “The early bird gets the worm,” it is also true for shopping at the farmer’s market. Arriving early will give you the best selection and access to the most popular vendors, and you will avoid the crowds.
Bring a Tote Bag or Wagon
Always bring a tote bag, or a wagon if you plan on buying in bulk. Many vendors won’t have paper or plastic bags that are sturdy enough to handle the weight of a full market haul.
Try New Things
One of the best reasons for shopping at the farmer’s market is the opportunity to try new things! Most vendors love talking about their produce or food items and are a great resource for learning about new veggies or foods that you may have never tried before. Talk to the farmers about what is in season and how they like to cook with their produce. You never know, you may discover a new favorite dish!
These tips will help you make the most of your next trip to your local farmer’s market.