Your Farmer’s Market Shopping List
One of the best things about summer is all of the delicious produce you can buy at your local farmer’s market. There is no doubt that shopping the farmer’s market is cost effective and beneficial to your local economy – hooray for supporting small businesses! But produce at the farmer’s market is typically fresher as well, as it’s spent less time in transit. Here are some tips for making the most out of your weekly farmer’s market haul this summer:
Know what’s in season
The farmer’s market is no place to get out of season produce. Some of the most popular summer fruits and vegetables include tomatoes, berries, melons, peppers, peaches and corn. Take advantage of the sweet tastes of the season and make sure you bring some of these summer goodies home.
Bring your own bags
While most vendors will have plastic bags available for you, they’d appreciate you bringing your own bags – trust me. Grab some of those tote bags that are stuffed in the back of your closet and dub them your official farmer’s market bags. It’s better for the environment, and you won’t have to worry about flimsy plastic or paper bags ripping on your way home.
Plan your meals
Figure out what you plan to make for the week so you won’t have to make any last-minute trips for some sub par produce. You want to make sure you buy enough of each ingredient, but you don’t want to overbuy either, as that’ll probably lead to you throwing away some fruits or veggies that have gone bad. However, a lot of the fun of shopping at farmer’s markets is finding fun and new foods to cook with. If you stumble upon something interesting at the market that doesn’t have a place in your meal plan, ask the farmer selling it how to prepare the item.
Don’t go in the middle of the day
There are no benefits to attending to the farmer’s market in the middle of the day. In the morning, you have first pick of everything you want. If you go at the end of the day, many of the vendors will give you good deals so they don’t have to haul all of their leftover goodies home. Determine what’s important to you – selection or deals – and figure out if going early or late is best for you.
If you’re lucky enough to live in an area with multiple farmer’s markets, don’t commit to just one. Check out markets in different areas and get to know which vendors you like the most. This way you’ll know where to go when you have specific meals in mind for the next week. Not to mention, it’s a great way to get out of your comfort zone and check out other neighborhoods in your area!