Farmer’s Markets are popping up all over the place, a trend that bodes well for getting your fill of delicious, locally grown organic veggies, but do you know how to make the most of your experience?
Here are 5 tips for navigating your local market:
1. Plan ahead. Bring enough bags, a cart, and some understanding of how you are going to haul your goodies home. There’s nothing worse than scooping up a bunch of sweet corn on sale only to realize you’ll have to schlep it back on public transportation at rush hour, or with multiple bags hanging off your bike.
2. Walk the perimeter of the market and try before you buy. Scope out how the fruit and veggies look at the various vendors before plunking down any money. You don’t want to buy the first pint of berries you see, because inevitably, you’ll find plumper, sweeter, and cheaper ones three stands down.
3. Take note of prices and stock up if you find a deal. When you’re familiar with what good organic produce costs at your local grocery, you can shop the farmer’s market armed with that knowledge and scope out some mad deals.
4. Don’t be shy. Ask questions, and engage with the vendors. Many of them are the farmers who lovingly grew the food you’re about to buy, so they’re often more than happy to tell you whatever you want to know about it.
5. Take time to smell the wildflowers… and fresh herbs… and just-baked bread…. One of the joys of shopping at an outdoor market is the sensory experience of it all. If you rush through without letting yourself sink into the slower pace of the place, you’re almost missing the entire point.
The growth of farmer’s markets has exploded in the last few years. You can even find them year-round, with winter markets in colder climes featuring lots of hearty root vegetables and alkalizing greens like kale and collards.
Farmer’s market not your cup of tea? You may want to give a CSA a try. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and it’s basically a farm share of vegetables (and sometimes goodies like fruit and wildflowers) that you pay for in advance. You then receive a weekly (or bi-weekly) box of farm-fresh goodies!
Either way, shopping these locally farmed resources gives you a way to know exactly where your food comes from.
And that’s a good thing.
To find a farmer’s market or CSA in your area, check out Local Harvest
Nutrition.gov’s guide to Farmers Markets