The benefits of shopping at farmers markets are endless – from the wide selection of freshly picked fruits and vegetables to the opportunity to support area farmers and boost your local economy. Here are our five best tips for your best farmers market experience yet.
- Make a plan
Check to see what is in season before heading to the market. Make a plan for the week to incorporate your favorite local products into your meals. Schedule recipes that use more perishable items, like fresh salad greens and berries, earlier in the week, and save heartier vegetables, like potatoes and kale, for later. Be prepared to adjust your plan as needed based on what is available when you get to the market. Starting with a plan will help you choose products to build complete meals and utilize everything that you buy.
Need help making a plan? The eMeals Clean Eating meal plan incorporates plenty of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables in simple meals for every night of the week.
- Go early
Find out the market’s hours, and arrive as soon as it opens for the largest and highest quality selection of products. Websites like localharvest.org are excellent resources for locating markets in your area.
- Bring cash
Most farmers markets are cash-only operations, and many farmers do their business out of a small cash box. Bringing cash and paying in small bills is an easy way to ensure a fuss-free transaction.
- Buy in bulk
Buying in bulk is one way to ensure that you are getting the most for your money. Not sure what to do with a whole box of tomatoes? Try blending some with a little onion and basil for a delicious no-cook sauce that is easy to freeze and perfect for a quick dinner. Buy a whole bushel of apples, and use half to make applesauce. Or find a friend to split a purchase with so that you each end up with a manageable amount of fresh food.
- Shop around
Just because different farmers are selling the same things doesn’t always mean that their prices and quality will be the same. Often times the stands nearest the front are the larger-scale farms that get prime market real estate and are able to sell their goods at a higher price. Take a loop around all of the booths to survey that variety, quality and prices of what’s available before making any purchases.
What’s your favorite thing to buy at your local farmers market? Let us know in the comment, or tag your farmers market finds on Instagram with #emeals.
Try these recipes with your farmers market finds: