Summer is in full swing and so is the farmers market! I have been going to the farmers market for years, it’s the only place I get my fresh produce because I love to eat with the season and support local businesses. Farmers market is also a great place to get culinary inspirations. Here are the tips that I have learned from my experience at my farmers market!
1. Early bird gets the best picks! If you can’t go early, then go late because you can get discounted prices since the vendors want to sell all their products before they go. The trade off is limited selection.
2. Bring your own bags / wheeled cart. I highly recommend a wheeled cart, it makes the shopping experience a breeze because you don’t need to walk around with a handful of heavy groceries, plus you can look stylish. I usually have a cooler bag in the car so that I can put fresh cheese or eggs in it.
3. Have small bills ready, and lots of them. This is especially useful if you shop early because vendors usually don’t have enough change at the beginning.
4. Know your seasons! Check the seasonal chart and embrace what’s in season. Seasonal items always taste best and cost less.
5. Try new things. Never had bitter melon or kohlrabi? NOW is the time!
6. Ask away! Besides being amazing at what they do, the vendors are a walking encyclopedia. I love to ask my local vendors about what’s in season, what’s good, what’s coming, and how they use their produce. You can also share how you like to use their produce, they would love to hear it!
7. Organic isn’t everything. It is expensive for vendors to get their farm certified organic, so some vendors may choose not to go through the certification but still practice organic farming method. You can always find out more by asking. Pesticide free, local and GMO free are other signs to look for.
8. Survey like a ninja! Unless you know your farmers market really well, take a lap around to see what the vendors are selling and compare their prices.
9. Taste everything. Don’t be shy, ask for a taste sample of the produce if they don’t already have it on display. This is especially important when you are buying fruits. You don’t want to go home with a pint of bland strawberries, organic or not.
10. Bulk is your friend. I like to buy seasonal vegetables and fruits in volume because they are budget friendly AND there are so many ways to eat them. You can enjoy them fresh, cooked, canned, frozen or dried, whichever one works for you.
11. Master the art of keeping things fresh. There are many techniques that can help keep your produce fresh. My go-to technique is the glass lock container lined with paper towel to soak up additional moist.
What are some of your tips of shopping at the farmers market? And how do you keep things fresh?
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