Farm Fresh: Navigating Your Local Farmer’s Market

By: Kristin Pulling

Are you always on the lookout for the freshest fruits and veggies? While many grocery stores offer local or organic produce, you often end up paying for the middle man! We’ve got a better and more fun way to enjoy local, fresh produce!

Farmers Markets are great for scoring healthy fresh food while also supporting your local farmers. Knowing exactly where your food is grown gives peace of mind.  Did you know that most farmer’s market produce is grown and picked within 100 miles from the venue? Plus buying from local farmers helps support your community’s economy and reduce the carbon footprint by reducing the amount of gasoline used to transport the goods!  If you need to restock your kitchen shelves, navigate your next farmer;’s market trip with these great tips:

  1. Find a local market: The USDA has a great directory that lets you search by state, so you can easily find a market nearby. Check it out: HERE
  2. Bring cash instead of credit cards. Most vendors don’t accept credit cards or have large sums of cash on hand. Bring smaller bills to avoid having to ask for change.
  3. Shop early to get the best selection. The later in the day you visit, the more likely vendors will have run out of what you needed.  Plus, the chances of getting the best and most ripe fruit and veggies are best for the early bird!
  4. Plan ahead and buy based on your meals. Produce has a short shelf life so it’s important to refrain from buying more than you can eat in one week. Planning ahead and coming prepared with a list of what you need will help prevent the dreaded scenario of having to throw out a bunch of spoiled produce you were really excited about being able to use!
  5. Bring your own bags. Most vendors offer small plastic bags, but you’ll likely need something more heavy-duty for hauling around all that delicious, fresh food.  Many stores sell reusable grocery bags for less than $5 and it’ll save you the trouble of lugging around those hard-to-carry paper bags all morning!
  6. Talk to the vendors. The farmers are likely proud of their products and eager to answer your questions, so take advantage of it! Don’t be shy – ask for tips on cooking, preparation, and recipes! Just don’t forget to come back and share your tips & tricks with the TLS community!

Do you love your local farmer’s market? Tell us how you make the most of it in the comments below!