Farmer’s Market Season is Here! 6 Tips to Make Your Visit a Success
This is one of my favorite times of the year—the weather is warming, the days are getting longer, the flowers are in bloom, and farmer’s markets kick into high gear. If you are curious about farmer’s markets but feel overwhelmed or intimidated, or just don’t know where to start, here are some of the ways that I make the most out of my trips to the farmer’s market.
Find your market
Did you know that the USDA keeps a running list of all of the farmer’s markets in the nation, searchable by zip code? This will help you find the market closest to you if you don’t know where it is, or give you ideas for new ones to check out.
Explore before you buy
Walk up and down the aisle(s) looking at all that is being offered. Whose arugula looks the best? Whose strawberries are calling to you? Does a vendor have a great deal on an item on your list? Are you inspired by a type of produce you aren’t familiar with or the local meat that is being offered? Take mental (or written!) notes.
If you don’t know, ask
If you see an ingredient you aren’t familiar with or that you’ve always wanted to try but aren’t sure how to prepare, just ask. In my experience, farmers love to share preparation ideas.
If you can’t find what’s on your list, ask
Sometimes you won’t be able to find exactly what you need, but perhaps there’s an alternative you could use instead. You can use our food substitution guide to help you, or ask the vendor what they would suggest.
Be brave, experiment!
Every time I got to the farmer’s market I try to get one item that I have never had before or at least that I am not as comfortable cooking with. By doing this, I have discovered all kinds of wonderful ingredients: watermelon radishes, kiwi berries, and goat sausage are the three that immediately come to mind.
Take your time
At least on your first few trips, try to view a trip to the farmer’s market as a fun activity rather than an errand. This way, you can relax, enjoy the experience, and get familiar with all that is available. Then, once you’ve gone a few times, it can become a quicker, more regular part of your weekly shopping routine.
Do you shop at farmer’s markets? Do you have tips and tricks for making your visits a success? I’d love to hear them in the comments!
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