Advice: 5 Tips for Farmer's Market Shopping
5 easy tips for Farmer's Market shopping - when to arrive, how to buy and how to make the most out of your farmer's market trip! Shopping at a healthy food haven.
Farmer’s markets are a healthy food haven offering up seasonal fruits, vegetables, nuts and herbs. Every Sunday we have a tradition to all convene at my family’s home, walk through the park and then along the water front, making our way to the most wonderful farmers market in the city. It has become a ritual that I look forward to most during the week. If you are new to healthy eating, farmer’s markets are the best starting off point! As you stroll along the food stalls and sample fresh goodies, you also have a chance to chat with the vendors about food advice and interesting tips! Here are a few tips that will help you make the most out of your farmer’s market trips!
Go Early or Late
Heading to the farmer’s market early or late has their benefits. Getting to the market early is a great way to score some really beautiful and delicious produce. Since not everyone has showed up yet, there is always the best produce waiting to be taken home. It’s also nice to go early, especially during the summer months, since the crowd hasn’t rolled in - making it easier to navigate the small stalls. On the other hand if you come towards the end, most likely you’ll be able to get some really great deals! I generally arrive late and love this, as many vendors are willing to offer you better deals since they are looking to take back with them as little produce as possible. The food is just as delicious but you might not be getting the most perfectly shaped watermelon or oranges – but I’m totally fine with this!
Make Your Rounds
Its so tempting to walk up to the first few stalls, see the food you really want and buy it without hesitation. The times when I’ve gotten the best food and deals is by strolling through the entire farmer’s market eyeing what each vendor is selling, while noting the prices. Then when I know what I want to buy I can compare and go for the one that has everything I’m looking for – the produce I want, grown organically and for a good price.
I’ve noticed that many stalls now use credit cards, however, I still like to pay in cash. If I’m budgeting for the week ahead, this is a great way to not over spend. Often times my eyes are bigger than my stomach and I’ll end up buying much more than I need – having food go to waste by the end of the week. Buying within my budget helps counteract this problem. Another nice tip is to carry small dollar amounts ($5 and $10) making transactions easier. Try not to use anything larger than a $20 bill.
Get to Know the Vendors
This is one of my favorite parts about browsing the stalls. Since I go every weekend I’ve been able to get to know a few vendors and I’m pretty dedicated to their products and the advice they give me. I’ve learned so many tricks like knowing when an avocado is ripe – pull off the stem and the skin underneath is brown. Or if you find some vegetables like fennel that look dry, soak them in cold water to rehydrate them. Get to know the vendors, they have a wealthy of knowledge and the ones I’ve met love talking about why their product is so good!
Buy in Bulk
Often times a vendor will have a special where it’s cheaper to buy three baskets of strawberries than one. I always go for these deals and have recipes in mind that will utilize the fresh fruit so it doesn’t go bad. Same with veggies, buy 3 bundles of different greens for less. I love choosing collard greens for wraps, spinach or swish chard for sautéing and kale for salads. This way you got the best deal you can and have a chance to be invented with your new veggies and fruits!
I hope you guys explore the farmers market this weekend! It really is more than just a market – it’s a little community that I look forward to going back to week after week. If you’re looking for a farmer's market, check this website to find the nearest one to you!