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8 best tips to successfully shop at any farmers market. Tips provided by a registered dietitian!
Shopping at the farmers market is one of the best ways to eat local, in-season produce. It is also a great way to discover new fruits and vegetables that aren’t commonly found in grocery stores.
Seasonal produce will differ depending on the region you live in. However, knowing seasonal produce will allow you to expect what produce will be available at the farmers market; review the Seasonal Produce Guide to determine what is considered in-season. Purchasing produce in-season tends to be cheaper, more nutrient-dense, and more flavorful.
Planning ahead can make for a more seamless week of delicious meals and snacks. Create and bring along a list of produce you are hoping to purchase at the farmers market – just be flexible, as some vendors may run out of what you are looking for. If you can’t find the delicata squash to make those homemade fries, try swapping for some sweet potatoes.
Most vendors will offer a plastic bag to place your produce in. However, they tend to be pretty flimsy. Bringing your own reusable bags will ensure everything you purchase at the farmers market will get home safely.
Bringing cash and small bills will make purchases at the farmers market go more quickly and smoothly. However, it does seem that more and more vendors are starting to allow purchases made with a credit card. Note that some markets may be cash only.
Farmers markets usually tend to be less busy right when they open. By going early, this will also ensure a better selection with vendors being fully in stock. However, keep in mind that if you do go late, farmers and vendors may offer discounts on their remaining products.
At most farmers markets, when you buy in bulk, the cheaper the price! Don’t be afraid to share the bulk purchase with friends and family, or learn how to properly clean fresh produce so it lasts longer.
Talking with local farmers are a great way to learn about the way they grow their food, what different produce tastes like, and creative ways on how to prepare their products. It never hurts to strike up a conversation with a farmer!
If you notice produce that is new to you, don’t be afraid to ask the vendor what it is and how to prepare it. This can be a fun and exciting way to try new things!
I highly encourage using these tips to successfully shop at any farmers market!