Tips for Your Trip to the Farmer’s Market
The next time you plan your visit to the grocery store, consider your local farmer’s market instead. There’s a wealth of fresh produce to fill up your reusable tote bags. What’s in season? What’s not? To get the most from your experience, consider a few things.
Reasons to Shop at the Farmer’s Market
- You are making a difference by supporting your local farmers and their success will grow.
- The produce is picked at the peak of the season, so it’s naturally more flavorful compared to your grocery store items that may not be as fresh from transit to store. In many cases, the market offers lower prices.
- Follow the simple rule of thumb to eat a rainbow of colors to get a variety of cancer-fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals that different colors offer.
What’s in season right now?
- Fruits: apples, avocados, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, Texas grapefruit, kiwi, lemons, oranges, papayas, pears, pineapple, raspberries, tangelos and tangerines
- Vegetables: asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, radicchio, Belgian endive, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, kale, leeks, lettuces, mushrooms, parsnips, peppers, russet potatoes and new potatoes, radishes, rutabagas, shallots, spinach, sugar snaps, snow peas, squash and sweet potatoes
Strategies for Shopping at the Farmer’s Market
- Do some research and plan ahead. Seek out what’s in season and know before you go. Think about what meals and snacks you’re planning for the week and guide your purchases around that.
- Take a stroll around and scan what’s there to decide what and where to buy, instead of settling on the first vendor you walk up to. There are so many choices and the same foods reappear. You might get a sweeter tasting watermelon at one vendor versus another.
- Try before you buy. Take advantage of taste testing. The vendors offer a plethora of samples so you can taste all the lovely fresh food before you buy it.
- Get creative and adventurous. Here’s a great opportunity to experiment with foods. You may discover that you like fresh figs, which by the way, are loaded in fiber. Find out how to use certain foods and get new and fresh ideas. Ask your vendor their favorite way to prepare a particular food. You might leave with some new recipes. You may not realize all the uses for a single food. Make it a learning experience for the whole family!
- Stock up. Buy your favorite foods in season and then freeze them for later when that food is off season. A good example of this would be berries that freeze well.
- Make requests. Don’t be shy to ask questions. If you are buying for one or two people you may ask for half a basket of an item to get the amount you really “need.” It’s better to buy two tomatoes and actually use them, than a large basket of six tomatoes and realize the other four have spoiled by the end of the week.
- Have fun! Make your visit to the farmer’s market a field trip for you and your family. You’ll leave with some super nutritious fresh food, some extra knowledge, and maybe even a bit more passion about filling your plate with a rainbow of colors.