We love, love, love going to the farmer’s market. It’s a great way to support local businesses while also stocking up on fresh, organic and seasonal produce as well as artisanal items. Most importantly, it’s a chance to interact with those who produce your food.
In order to get the most for your time and money, keep these tips in mind when you head to the farmer’s market:
1. Check in advance which fruits and vegetables are in season to help you plan meals.
2. Go early in the day for the best selection of items or . . .
3. . . . get there toward the end of the day, which is when vendors are more likely to mark items down.
4. Bring your own reusable bags to avoid collecting a large haul of plastic ones.
5. Try the samples, especially if there are multiple vendors with the same product.
6. Ask questions about where the product is grown and how.
7. Ask the vendor for a cooking suggestion to best highlight your ingredients, especially if its unfamiliar to you.
8. If it’s a good deal, buy fruits and veggies that will go out of season in bulk to freeze.
9. Bring cash, as most vendors don’t take credit cards.
10. Don’t pass by the pickles and homemade condiments and sauces, as they’ll usually be free of artificial ingredients and completely delicious.
11. Bring a recipe along with you -- if you can’t find exactly what you need, you may be able to get some suggestions.
12. Dry goods bought in bulk can also mean more savings. Look for grains, flours and even pasta and beans.
13. If you have them, bring your kids along -- it’s a fantastic learning opportunity.
14. Get the contact information of your favorite vendors so you can check in with them about upcoming items.
15. Clean, prep and store foods properly as soon as you get home:
Wash anything with a skin you would eat.
Rinse herbs, wrap ends in paper towel and refrigerate in a plastic bag.
Freeze any produce you bought in bulk.
Nuts and seeds can also be stored in the freezer to maintain freshness.
Now that you know what to do, get out there and enjoy see what your local farmer’s market has to offer. Check back at eVitamins tomorrow for all the latest health information.