Navigate the Farmers’ Market Like a Pro
You have your cash, you brought your bags, and promptly arrived at opening hours. Instead of loitering around the booth with the fresh baked scones take heed to these tidbits of advice and become a farmers’ market guru.
Take a Lap
At first glance the amount of food and vendors can be overwhelming. Find an espresso stand and grab yourself an almond milk latte then take a lap while you caffeinate. Several farmers will be selling the same produce. Mull over prices. The next stand over might have a box of equally stunning strawberries for a few dollars cheaper. No need to commit with the first farmer you see.
Not All Stalls Are Created Equal
While you’re nursing your espresso and weaving through the market take a look at the quality of the produce. Is there yellowing on the greens you are looking at? Do the leaves look heavily wilted? If the heirloom tomato you picked up has a molding stem put it back at move on. However, don’t be afraid of a little dirt or contorted looking vegetables.
If organic produce is important to you try not to overlook the stalls that don’t have certified organic signs. Talk to farmers. Some small farms practice organic standards but can’t afford to have their farm certified. Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation. Most farmers will happily tell you about their farming practices.
It’s unlikely that all the potatoes will be gone mid morning. Seasonal and specialty items however can be slim picking by the end of the market. Start your purchases off with specialty or seasonal fruits and veggies that you know you want in your basket.
What is That?
Don’t be afraid to hide your bewildered expression the first time you see garlic scapes or can’t identify what a sunchoke is. Ask the farmer what that funny looking thing is. Go a step further and inquire how to use it in a recipe or cook it in a dish. Some might even offer up a taste before purchasing.
Back to Basics
It’s admirable to try and buy a week’s worth of produce locally at your market. However most of us can’t swing a bag of onions and potatoes over our shoulders, nibble on our fresh scone, and pick up the perfect box of berries at the same time. Don’t overwhelm yourself (or your wallet) by getting all the essentials at the market. Start by sticking with fresh seasonal specials that make you feel excited to purchase.
I try to make a list before heading to market but it’s fun to leave room for some spontaneity. Try purchasing one item you’ve never tried before. I didn’t know my childhood arch enemy (stinging nettles) could make a highly nutritive tea. Be open to trying new things.
What to Do Once You Get to the Farmers' Market. Click To Tweet
If you venture to your local market snap a shot and tag me at #thesharpguide so I can see your exciting purchases. Read 10 things you shouldn’t do at the farmers’ market.