Every week I like to take a trip to the local farmer’s market. I love surrounding myself with all the vibrant fruits & vegetables that are locally grown. It really helps give me a sense of that “from farm to table” feeling when I buy the produce. It’s also a great opportunity to get inspired, and really just connect with the food I’ll be cooking with.
Here are my 6 tips to shop the farmer’s market like a pro
1. Go early
Now I’m not saying you need to get to the market first thing in the morning when they open, but I prefer to go earlier rather than later. The produce is fresher, you have a better selection of options and the crowds are minimal.
2. Take a tour
So you’ve arrived at the market early. Now what? First things first, take a tour of the market! This is always the first thing I do when arrive. Different vendors will be selling produce from different farms, and for different prices. Those first strawberries you see may look delicious, but the vendor on the other side may have ones just as beautiful for a cheaper price. Scan your options before you dive into the shopping.
(These fresh strawberries were used on my vegan buckwheat waffles!)
3. Make friends with the vendors
After shopping at the farmer’s market a few times, you’ll probably notice that you often go back to many of the same vendors. Take the time to talk with your favourite vendors and learn their names. They’ll be more likely to help you out with any questions you might have or get you the fresher lettuce they’re keeping in the back. Also don’t be shy to ask questions! If you’re looking for particular type of radish, they may have it put away somewhere, or be able to advise you if/when they may have it.
4. Be spontaneous
Of course it’s important to have a grocery list, but leave some room for spontaneity. Every time I go to the market there’s always some sort of new and exciting produce that I’m not familiar with. I like to buy one new or different item I’m not used to using every time I shop. It’s a great opportunity to discover new foods you may love and get creative in the kitchen!
5. Shop seasonally
I’m sure we all know that the farmer’s market is of course filled with seasonal produce, but some have imported produce as well. Keep in mind what season it is in order to get the freshest types of fruits & vegetables. Is it July? Don’t skip out on berries! Is it September? Make sure to grab some squash and apples!
6. Choose wisely
Handle your own produce! Don’t be shy to touch the food. (And I mean gently, don’t squeeze and bruise those peaches!) I always look through the baskets and pick up the produce I’m looking to buy. Some baskets or boxes may be nicer than others. Many vendors will also have samples you can taste, or you can ask for a little taste before buying.