I’m a gal that loves a good Farmers Market.
Everything from the fresh produce to the friendly farmers to the seasonal offerings delights me. It’s the perfect kind of sensory overload.
Farmers Markets are incredible for many reasons . First, you get fresher produce (and fresher means more nutrients). Oftentimes, the food is grown organically. And if you do it right, you can get great deals and discounted prices.
Confession time: I used to suffer from Farmers Market Confusion.
All the produce would look amazing and I wanted to buy everything. But I never knew what to buy. What should I buy? How much do I need? Can I carry this all home? Once I decided on my purchases, I would get home and realize I had a hodgepodge of produce that looked great, but had no idea what to do with it.
And a few weeks later, I often ended up having to waste some of my purchases.
Now I have a better plan of attack and want to share my Farmers Market Shopping Tips.
1.) Know your staples and purchase them.
For me, this means apples, snacking fruit, kale, spinach, greens, garlic, and onions. I also adore local raw honey (great for allergies) and find it is often much more affordable direct at the Farmer’s Market.
2.) Have a few recipe ideas before you go.
Having a few ideas on what you want to make can help guide your purchases.
Just be sure to leave this open to inspiration once you see the current offerings.
3.) Check out what is in season.
What’s in season will taste the best and likely have the best prices. Right now, my Farmers Markets are swimming with berries. This is the perfect time to stock up to make things immediately and to freeze.
Not sure what’s in season where you live?
I have two easy solutions for you.
The first (and most fun) is to check with the farmers. Strike up a conversation and learn from the experts.
The second is to use the free Sustainable Table website. Just enter your state and the month, hit go, and you have a comprehensive list of seasonal produce.
4.) Chat with the Farmers.
They know what produce of theirs is best right now. Plus, they can give you preparation ideas and background on how the plants were grown. I find most farmers are delighted to talk about their food – it's what they are passionate about.
5.) Try one new produce item each week.
Use the variety of offerings to your advantage.
Never cooked kohlrabi? Give it a go! Are collard greens new to your kitchen? Buy and try them!
Get creative and have fun. You and your family may be delightfully surprised!
Skye McKennon, PharmD, BCPS, GEI