Have you been to a Farmer’s Market? Are you a little uncertain about what to expect? If so, don’t worry, we’ll help you through the process. I recently wrote about organic Farmer’s Markets and why I’m a believer. From the wonderful freshness of the produce to the delicious taste, you really can’t go wrong when you shop locally. As a follow up, I thought I’d share our top 10 tips for the Farmer’s Market newbie.
1. Bring reusable bags: not every vendor will have bags, so you have to remember to bring your own. Also, you’re sure to buy more produce then you intended and you’ll need reusable bags to tote it all home.
2. Know what you have in your fridge: Farmer’s Market vegetables are picked at the height of freshness and you don’t want them to sit around until you finish older produce. As most of it is organic, it doesn’t have the same shelf life as grocery store produce. Remember, you can always come back next week or find another market throughout the week.
3. Bring change and small bills: it is hard for your Farmer’s Market to break larger bills, as their change is limited.
4. Ask questions: farmer’s love to talk about their produce and will even give you tips about preparing their goods. They will share tips on how to make your organic garden a success.
5. Do a circle of the market before you buy anything: every vendor will have different produce and even prices. So don’t commit to the vegetables you see first because you may find a variety you enjoy more at another booth or a larger bunch at a better price.
6. Make a list: though you might not know what wonders await you at the Farmer’s Market, it helps to have a list so you know what to look for.
7. Try new things: you might not know what a garlic scape is or how a new variety of pepper might taste and this is your chance to experience them. There is no better time to try a new product than when it is fresh. In the end, you’ll wonder how you ever cooked without them.
8. Be prepared to pay a little more: some items might be more expensive at the Farmer’s Market than the grocery store, but keep in mind this is the freshest produce can get without you growing it yourself. Yes, you can haggle (or attempt to), but keep in mind a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into growing these goods.
9. Spread the word: if you loved something you had from a certain booth, be sure to tell your friends and family. These farmer’s deserve recognition for their hard work and it is another way to help support them.
10. Ask about social media: many of the farmer’s and booths will have a website or Facebook, Twitter or other social media profile so you can follow them and learn more about them or any upcoming specials. This will also open you up to other Farmer’s Markets in and around your area that might have different produce compared to the one market you frequent.
Armed with these helpful tips you’ll be sure to get the most out of your organic Farmer’s Market visit. The Farmer’s Market is more than just a passing fad, these farmer’s are taking part in a time-honoured tradition. They take great pride in their produce and in imparting their knowledge to their customers. So, ask questions and don’t be shy about trying something new. By exploring your local Farmer’s Market, you’ll become more knowledgeable and a healthier cook while cutting back on the carbon footprint of your meals.
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