T’is the season.
Farmers markets can be an excellent way to spend some time outdoors this season. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your visit, while staying healthy.
What to Bring
Cash (many stands don’t accept cards), lightweight canvas/reuseable bags, cooler bag (if you need to transport cold items home)
What to Expect
Anything and everything! Many markets have expanded their offerings beyond local fruits and veggies. You’ll typically find bread/baked good vendors, meat vendors/butchers, specialty cheeses and spreads, and arts/crafts. Markets that take place over lunch time often offer ready-to-eat foods and meals as well.
How to choose what to purchase: decide what is important to you – buying local, saving money, getting specific items for a recipe? It can be overwhelming to choose tomatoes from among 10 different options. Know what you like, and how much you’ll be likely to use in the next few days. Often vendors will offer samples/tastes of their produce to help you decide.
How to Keep It Healthy
Just like when you grocery shop, don’t arrive starving – you’ll be tempted to buy all the items. Do some research on what is in season, what the average prices are at grocery stores, and whether or not extra produce you purchase will be canned/frozen or repurposed.
Tips for Saving Money
Often you’ll get a better price buying in bulk – bring a friend or family member to share with. If you’re using the fruit or veggies in a recipe (when you’ll chop them up and cook them anyway), sometimes you can buy slightly bruised/irregular produce at a bigger discount. If you visit around closing time, you’ll have less of selection but may get a deal on items the vendors want to sell that day.