Farmer’s Market Shopping Offers The Best In Taste And Freshness

Published 6:16 pm Thursday, July 2, 2015

By Pauline Stokes


Imagine sweet strawberries, fresh spinach and greens, locally baked breads and pies, and jams and jellies, all picked at the peak of flavor for your table.  That’s what you’ll find at the farmers market!

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Shopping at the farmers market is not hard at all, and with a little preparation, you’ll be a pro in no time.

The best shopping time is early in the morning, especially between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. as the farmers are bringing their produce in and setting up.  You’ll get the choicest fruits and vegetables before they are picked over, and before they run out.  After 11 a.m., you may be able to get discounts for foods in large quantities as farmers don’t want to take their foods home and figure out what to do with them.  The market manager helps farmers set their prices according to current market prices and conditions, so they all are charging the same.  Bargain shopping and haggling for a better price doesn’t work.

Come dressed for comfort and bring small change.  Shorts, tennis shoes and cool shirts are very appropriate as farmers markets are held outside and it can be hot in the summer months.  Bring just a wallet or fanny pack so that you’ll have more room to carry your purchases.   You could also bring canvas bags or your own shopping bags as farmers have to supply their own and it helps to not have to supply bags for every purchase.

Walk up and down all the aisles when you get there and map out your purchases.  Farmers don’t mind if you ask about the variety of the foods they have grown; some are better for eating, some are better for canning and preserving.  You can also ask about fertilizer and insecticides that they have used on their crops.  They may also have ideas about preparing items you may not be familiar with.

Items for sale are picked and prepared at the peak of ripeness and flavor, so don’t over purchase.  Buy only what you can use within a week.  Also, the foods may not be as cosmetically pleasing as grocery store items, but the flavor more than makes up for the difference.  Be willing to accept blemishes and a few insects.  The appearance does not affect the quality, taste or nutritional value.

Come prepared to transport your purchases home.  You may need a cooler to store them in if you have other errands, or may need some boxes or dividers for your trunk or back seat to keep items from rolling around.

Be considerate of farmers, their products and their time.  Don’t haggle over price, or exclaim how you bought something from someone else at a cheaper price.  This is their livelihood and it is time consuming, back-breaking work.  Also, don’t pinch, squeeze or damage their products, they need to sell these items, and lastly, don’t be terrified of a bug, dirt or worm.  They haven’t harmed or contaminated the foods in any way.

A trip to the farmers market guarantees great tasting summertime meals.  Visit yours soon!