How to Shop the Farmers Market Like a Pro
Being able to shop a local farmer’s market at home is one of the best ways to create healthy meals for yourself and family, while learning where your food comes from. Depending on the quality of your market, you can find everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to dairy to organic, grass fed meat. The best markets will also be able to provide for your bath and beauty needs, honey, and even plants that you can take home to grow for yourself.
Use these tips to start shopping the farmer’s market like a pro and begin making smart decisions for your family about where your food comes from.
Speak With the Farmers
One of the first steps to shopping your neighborhood farmer’s market is to get to know the farmers. They are the folks that can tell you the most about the produce and other products they provide, and they are most likely very proud of what they produce so will be willing to answer all your questions. Not only do you want to find out how they grow, but get details about when they bring their produce in so you make sure you shop the market on the best days– or pre-order and have them hold specialty, limited produce.
Look Over the Market
Like every other smart purchase you make, it is a good idea to get an idea of what is being offered and at what prices. If you haven’t already planned meals before coming to the market, you can do so as you spot very good deals on the fruit and vegetables that are in abundance. Once you have made it around the market, make the purchases that were the best deals before they sell out, and then shop around the rest of the market for the special finds.
Touch and Taste
Most of the fruits and vegetables that you are shopping will be straight from field to the table, but sometimes farmers need to move fresh items fast, so they offer a discount. Unless you are going to be able to eat or process these items very fast, it might not be worth the discount. Inspect produce to check for mushy parts, if you are unsure about the sweetness or taste of an item, ask to sample– something most farmers are willing to do.
Every farmer’s market opens up very early in the mornings and close by the start of the afternoon, its done this way because farmers bring their produce straight to the stalls and return to their farms in the afternoons to continue bringing in the harvest. If you want to grab the best and freshest selection, show up early. If, on the other hand, you are interested in getting great produce for a discount, head in towards the end of the day.