I love shopping at our local farmer’s market for our fresh produce. As a vegetarian and a locavore, I try to grow our own fruits and vegetables as much as I can and buy what we don’t grow from local farmers.
Rodale emailed me a link to a great post this weekend, called “Insider Tips from the Country’s Best Farmer’s Markets.” In it, the managers, vendors and owners share their best tips on shopping from the farmer’s market. Since I’m such an advocate of buying produce this way, I wanted to share some of these tips with you.
If you’re not already shopping at your local farmer’s market, maybe this will inspire you to give it a try. If you’re already a market shopper, maybe you’ll pick up some new tips on how to get the best produce and the best deals at the farmer’s market. I know I learned a few things.
From Punta Gorda History Park Farmer’s Market, Punta Gorda, FL
Block out a decent amount of time to fully explore the market’s wonders. “Come, shop, and enjoy the beautiful grounds and park,” says market manager Louie Desguin. He also encourages people to browse before buying, and not to purchase the first thing they lay eyes on. “Make it a two or three-hour event and tour everything.”
I know I love making a morning of it. I take my coffee with me and usually grab a baked treat from one of my favorite vendors before I start shopping. Sometimes I’ll pick a nice spot in the grass or on the covered patio and dig into a gorgeous peach or other purchase. It makes the whole day seem like more of an outing than a shopping trip.
From Falls Church Farmer’s Market, Falls Church, VA
My little tip to people is to walk through the entire market before you start to buy, and see what’s available that day,” says Howard Herman, market manager. “The prices are usually pretty close, but you might find somebody who’s a little less expensive and you could save yourself a few bucks.”
This really is a good tip. Those tomatoes that look so great at one table may be available in an organic, heirloom variety at another vendor. Take a quick tour to see what looks good, then start shopping.
From Las Cruces Farmer’s and Craft Market, Las Cruces, New Mexico
Buy-and-sell vendors sometimes go to farmer’s markets with store-purchased goods,” explains David Kerr, of the Las Cruces Farmers and Crafts Market, one of the most diverse farmer’s markets in the country.
So make sure that the vendor you’re shopping with is selling local, farm-grown produce.
Farmer’s markets are a great source for truly fresh produce grown in a safe and responsible way. They’re one of the only ways to get heirloom, non-modified varieties of produce, too. If you haven’t shopped at one lately, go this weekend and make a day of it. It’s so much more fun than going to the supermarket!