Unless you are growing your own produce, locally produced food from your nearest farmer’s market is about as close to farm to table as you can get. Farmer’s markets are not only a great way to eat healthy, fresh and organic food, but also a great way to support your local community. When everything in season that you could possibly want is available from a variety of vendors in one place, you’re able to make sure you’re not just finding old favorites, but discovering new varieties as well.
However, just like most things, your experience with your local market can depend on a number of factors. To help you make the most of your experience, we’ve put together our best tips for navigating your local farmers market.
Know What’s In Season
Heading to your farmer’s market with unrealistic expectations is a recipe for disappointment. Do a bit of research to find out what’s in season so you have a clear picture of the types of things you’re likely to see when you arrive.
Have Meals In Mind
Have a rough idea of the meals you want to prepare for the week ahead before you show up. Nothing is worse than getting home with your bags of delicious food and realizing you walked right past an important ingredient and forgot to grab it. That being said…
Don’t Be Scared Of New Things
If you see something interesting that’s new to you, don’t be afraid to add a bit to your purchases and give it a go. It may turn out badly, but you might just discover a new favorite food!
Timing Is Key
Depending on what you’re looking to get out of your trip, the time you show up can have a big impact. Looking for the largest selection? Show up as early as possible so that you can snag the deals that might be sold out well before closing time. Looking for the best deals? Show up late, as many vendors would be happy to knock a bit off the price instead of loading unsold goods back into their vehicles.
Look Twice, Buy Once
When you arrive, take a lap or two around the entire market to get a good general sense of what you can get before making any purchases. Those berries at the first stand you pass might look nice, but the ones stuck in the back corner might be even better – and cheaper! Also, if you realize you can’t find three of the four ingredients for a meal you planned, you can forgo buying the one you can find as well.
Bring The Right Bags
Nothing’s worse than stockpiling some seasonal favorites and then discovering that all your goodies were smashed in transit. Using the right bags, or even baskets, can ensure that your produce and other food items get home safely. You might also want to include a cooler bag for more perishable items – especially if you’re not going straight home.
Don’t be scared to strike up a conversation with the farmers you’re buying from. Not only can they provide you with information on your purchases, but they can likely rattle off some great recipe ideas you may have never thought of. Additionally, getting in good with the vendors can net you some inside knowledge as to when new things are going to be showing up.
Show Up With Cash
Farmers market purchases go smoother with cash in hand. Ideally, bring more money than you think you’ll need and carry it in small bills so that you can get as close as possible to exact change and make the entire process as simple as possible.
Regarding Small Farms and Organic Produce
If produce isn’t labeled certified organic, talk to the vendor to find out why. Often, tiny farms are simply unable to afford the costly process of certification, but their wares are as clean and healthy as anything you’d find at any market. It never hurts to find out more about the food you’re eating.
Buy In Bulk
Great deals can often be found when buying larger quantities, so don’t be afraid to pile on extra helpings of your favorites. Extra produce can be frozen, canned, or even used to try out some new recipe ideas.
Not sure what to do with all this great produce? Check out our Gerson Therapy Recipe book or the over-90 pages of recipes in Healing the Gerson Way, Healing Arthritis the Gerson Way, Healing Diabetes the Gerson Way, or Healing High Blood Pressure the Gerson Way for ideas!