Seeing as it is midsummer and most farmers’ markets are in full swing with fruits, veggies, and flowers, I thought I
might do a series of posts on this wonderful local shopping experience. I am always thrilled to see a new vegetable stand or curbside market because it means that more local folks are raising some homegrown goodness and supporting sustainable and simple living.
Tonight, I thought I’d post a few tips about visiting farmers’ markets. I know, it’s not rocket science, but I’m hoping to turn a few grocery store shoppers to market stand enthusiasts!
So, here are some things to consider:
1. Is the market close enough to your home, work, etc. that you will make it a part of your routine and check in regularly. If you’re not a farmer or gardener, let me tell you how quickly produce can change up. You may miss the height of berry season if you only go once a month.
2. Some places may be called “farmers’ markets,” but that doesn’t mean the food comes from local farmers. In
asking a few questions at one of the stands last week, I found that some of the produce had been shipped here from
FL. Hmmmm, not really what I was hoping for so I headed on down the way to the next booth.
3. If you go to a large market with many stalls, take time to peruse each one. Some may have better deals than others. Some may have healthier looking produce. Personally, I also let the character of the farmer come into play. I had a couple of women work me over pretty good one time, and I ended up some Asian pears that had been picked so early, they didn’t ripen properly, and Honeycrisp apples that were twice the price of those 2 stalls down. I don’t go back to them. I visit an elderly couple who’ve been at the market since I was in college as well as a younger couple who have started a local, organic farm.
4. Looking for something out of the ordinary? It’s definitely worth seeking out at the farmers’ market. I have found some amazing cheeses, unique jams, and delicious honeys. It may cost a little more, but look at it this way–you’re supporting a local family, the local economy, and a local farm. It’s fresh and it’s healthy.
5. Build farmers’ markets into your vacation. If you like learning about the culture of the places you visit, the local
farmers’ market is the place to be! Food, people, sights and sounds–it’s all there. When I visited a friend in Texas, she and her husband took me to a large outdoor, covered market with stall after stall of wonderful delights–cups of fresh fruit coated in lime juice and cayenne pepper, colorful guitars and cowboy boots, fried potatoes that had been cut in the shape of a long spiral and speared with a long stick.
6. The food tastes better. It’s a no brainer-a tomato, green bean or blueberry that hasn’t been picked early then traveled hundreds or thousands of miles simply tastes better and is healthier for you.
7. The flowers are fresher. I have bought some of the most beautiful bouquets of freshly picked sunflowers, zinnias, and cosmos at the stand near my parents’ house. What could be more delightful for your home than a vase full of something freshly cut from a gardener’s field.
8. Most importantly, farmers’ markets give you the opportunity to meet with the people who are bring you food
from farm to table. They are the people who are providing you and your family with healthy food, delicious treats, and fresh flowers. You local farmers are creating sustainable options for living right there in your community. They are not simply strangers who grow food for a living, they are your neighbors.
Already have “farmers’ market” on your weekly to-do list? Great! Consider taking a friend along who’s new to the experience.
New to the farmers’ market scene? Enjoy! Then let us hear about your first time out~