Farmers Markets are one of my favorite thing about summer and living in California it’s a sin not to go as much as possible to take advantage of and support the many farms in the area. Here are a few tips on how to make your Farmers Market visit live up to its fullest potential!
1) Always have cash, preferably small bills. This might seem like a no brainer, but I can’t tell you how many times I get all the way to the market only to realize I don’t have cash on me. What I like to do is always keep a small amount in my bag (see #2), so I never have to worry about remembering.
2) Always bring your own bag. Not only does this lesson the burden on you having to carry multiple small bags of fruits and veggies, it gives you the eco-friendly option of not using plastic bags!
3) Ask questions! I’ve never been good at approaching strangers being of a more shy disposition, but at a Farmers Market you’ll often see things you don’t recognize. They’ll be able to tell you how to cook it, where it comes from, what sort of factor the weather has had that year…anything you can think of to ask, they will be able to answer. So don’t be shy! In my experience, farmers are some of the friendliest people I’ve had the pleasure to talk to.
4) Either only buy what you need or buy in bulk. I only have myself to cook for, so it’s very easy to just buy 1 or 2 of each item (and very inexpensive!). But if you have more mouths to feed it is still vastly less expensive than the grocery store and healthier to buy in bulk. This is also a useful tip because local Farmers Markets are typically not open everyday.
5) Sample! It was one taste that prompted me to buy two beautiful sweet white peaches, and another that swayed me away from some nectarines too ripe for my taste. Anytime you have the option, be sure to take advantage of a free sample. And don’t feel obligated to buy if you do. I always struggle with this because it feels like it should be common courtesy to purchase. But ultimately you need to be happy with what you buy and this way you can sample different stalls and maybe find a regular stop!
Sampling also gives you an inside look at otherwise nondescript fruit. Would you have ever thought the grayish-brown plums pictured above have that deep, delicious blood red inside?
Do you have a favorite Farmers Market in your area?
Eat Well, Travel Well ~ Samantha