Do you have a local farmer's market? If so, have you ever taken advantage of it for your grocery shopping? If you have yet to visit a farmer's market this summer, don't worry, there's plenty of harvest yet to come throughout late summer and fall!
Shopping at the farmer's market can be somewhat intimidating if you've never done so before. How do you know which vendor is "best" or where the food actually comes from? Today I'm going to share a few tips to successfully tackle your local farmer's market to eat fresh, take advantage of local produce and live a little more sustainably.
Why Shop at a Farmer's Market ?
Produce at the farmer's market is picked at it's peak ripeness and travels less of a distance from the field to your plate: Often it's more affordable and tastes better too! Great price + great taste = more likely to eat more fruits and veggies = win-win situation.
Top Tip: Head Straight for the Produce
Just like the grocery store, it's easy to get distracted by the wide array of sights and scenes at the farmer's market. Baked goods, food vendors, eggs, dairy, meats, local crafts... yes, all of that can be overwhelming. It's best to prioritize and head straight to the produce vendors first. If you're looking for the freshest (and most beautiful) produce out there, plan on arriving early. If you want more of a bargain, sleep in and arrive later in the day, when vendors are more likely to throw a bargain your direction rather than having to throw away their precious goods.
Talk to Each Farmer & Ask Questions
Part of the fun of a farmer's market is that you can actually TALK to the people involved in the growing process and ask specific questions. That is, IF you know what to ask. Here's a few questions to get you started:
If you run across a variety of produce you're unfamiliar with, don't hesitate in asking about it. Farmer's are knowledgeable of the foods they grow-- they can tell you about the different varieties available, how to prepare, cook or eat them.
Have a Plan
Have a general idea of what's in season and what you plan to do with your produce purchases before you visit the market will prevent your purchases from going to waste. I mean, there is nothing better than a fridge full of fresh produce...except when it all just sits there and spoils. As soon as you return from the market, take some time to prepare your veggies for upcoming recipes to ensure they get used in a timely basis.
That's all for today! This weekend is going to be RAINY but my sister is in town and we plan on hitting up our local farmer's market anyway. It will be the perfect day to gather some groceries, then stay inside and cook up a few delicious meals for the week ahead.
Eat local, eat fresh and support your local farmer!
Kristen Chang is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) and endurance athlete residing in southwest Virginia alongside her husband and dog. Through this blog she aims to share favorite fueling recipes, general wellness and sport nutrition tips and stories from her athletic endeavors.
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