|Photo courtesy of Global Roots|
Deep dive your local Farmers’ MarketOne of the easiest and most convenient ways to shop and eat seasonably sustainable foods is to find your nearest local farmers’ market and dive in. There you can discover the many seasonal food options available, plan your next week’s meals around them, and buy exactly what you need.
The items you might expect to find at a farmers’ market run the gamut from raw to processed, including vegetables, fruits, nuts, as well as prepared foods like breads, jams, honeys, and sauces. Expect to find everything that’s farmed in your region to be represented at your local farmers’ market, including eggs, milk, cheese, and meat.
Let’s start with why you should even bother with a farmers’ market instead of hitting the local grocery store, courtesy of Nutriution.gov.
- The food is freshly picked (often that morning) and is at its peak in flavor and nutrition.
- Fresh fruit and vegetables are full of antioxidants and phytonutrients (i.e. very good for you).
- Supporting your local farmers market strengthens your community.
- Farmers often have recommendations for preparing their products.
- You can try a new fruit or vegetable!
- Farmers markets are easy to find, and literally most communities have several running at different days of the week.
- By visiting a farmers' market you're supporting your local economy and helping to keep it strong.
Now, some details on how to approach a shopping trip to a farmers’ market, courtesy of Serious Eats and Reader’s Digest.
Talk to the farmers
Who better to discuss the benefits of a particular crop than the people who choose to grow, harvest, and sell it?
|Photo courtesy of Pass the Pistil|
Be sure to bring enough totebags or a big enough backpack to carry your purchases. A small cooler is also a good idea if you're shopping for fresh dairy or meat.
|Photo courtesy of Brit + Co|
Shopping early in the day (within the first hour) gives you the best selection. While coming in late, or when the weather is bad, will get you great deals since farmers tend to hate driving back home with unsold goods.
|Photo by J Garbee, courtesy of LA Weekly|
Samples are plentiful, and if not, just ask and most farmers are happy to let you try.
Don’t complain about price
What you pay is a steal compared to what it would cost in a specialty grocer, and you’re putting money directly into the local economy.
Many booths at the market will be cash-only, so small denominations will be appreciated.
Ugly sometimes cheaper too
Farmers will often give you a deal on mishaped or just-plain-ugly looking fruits.
Buy the box
Grabbing an entire box or crate of an item will help drop the price.
|Photo courtesy of Hillsdale Farmers’ Market|
Similar vendors are within mere feet of each other, so shopping around for a better price is a no-brainer.
One of the best advanatages of shopping a farmers’ market is the ability to try new things. Don't hesitate to throw something new into your bag each week, you never know when you might discover a new favorite.
The Crisper Whisperer: 10 Tips to Take to the Farmers' Market Recipe (Serious Eats)
Top 10 Reasons to Shop at a Farmers' Market (Nutrion.gov)
13 Secrets Farmers’ Markets Won’t Tell You