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Just go to your favorite search engine and type in "farmers market tips" or "farmers market shopping" and you'll get lots of good articles. You can check with your favorite farm or grower a few days before the market if you wish. Some farms now have web logs that you can subscribe to, and then you'll get automatically notified about what they expect to have at the market coming up.
But here is some basic farmers market tip information obtained by web search to get you started. There are lots and lots of other references out there on the web.
Ten tips to make the most of your farmers' market
at farmers’ markets is the easiest way to eat locally. You know where
the food comes from—the grower is right there and you can ask them.
More than one shopper, however, has come home with bags of produce that
went uneaten. And many others have left after a morning’s tour around
the stalls only to go home with a bunch of carrots and a dazed
expression. A bit of planning can keep weekly shopping for produce at a
farmers’ market fun and make cooking a snap all week long.
1. Go Early
The best goods go first. Popular-but-limited items will sell out before the day is done. It’s as simple as that.
2. Bring Bags/Coolers
vendors offer bags, but why not recycle your own grocery store bags? Double them up for strength. Make
sure everything gets home without crashing onto the sidewalk or
spilling onto the floor of your car by bringing your own sturdy canvas
or nylon bags. A backpack can make the hauling easier—especially for
weighty or bulky items. If you will be purchasing frozen goods, or eggs, or even salad greens you should plan to bring a cooler with you.
3. Know Your Seasons
you know a bit of what to expect when you get there, making decisions
at each farm stand is much easier. Learn what grows in your area when and
talk to the growers about what will be coming to market in upcoming
4. Sketch Meals Ahead of Time
you now know what you’re likely to find at the market, you can do a bit of
meal planning and shop accordingly. If local asparagus has just come
into season and you can’t get enough, you know you’ll want to eat some
steamed, some cooked into a soup, and some sliced raw in a salad. So
you’ll know both how many bunches of asparagus to buy and that you’ll
also need some spring onions or herbs to add to the soup and some salad
5. Work In Volume
deals at the market are had when you buy in bulk. You’ll enjoy the best
flavors and the best prices when you buy lots of whatever is at its
harvest peak. How to use it all up? Try new recipes with favorite
vegetables or learn the lost art of preserving food. Freezing, canning,
and drying are just some of the ways you can save seasonal tastes for
later in the year.
6. Think "Whole Foods"
not that “Whole Foods.” We mean think in terms of how food grows and
comes to the markets without being processed first. Carrots come whole
and unpeeled. Beets still have greens (and dirt) attached. Learning to
handle lettuce not packaged in the pre-washed bag can take some getting used to, but the superior flavor is worth the adjustment.
7. Plan For Spontaneity
fare better if you plan your trip to the market. However, you need to
leave a bit of wiggle room for those sweet onions you didn’t know
would be at market so early, or the golden raspberries you’ve never
tried before. Trying new items and varieties is a big part of the fun of going to farmers’
8. Get Advice
If you find a
vegetable that’s new to you and want to give it a try, ask the farmer
how to prepare it. For the best tips specifically ask how they
like to eat it. They'll tell you.
9. Invest in Wheels
you buy a lot every week, consider acquiring a wheeled cart or wagon
(strollers make wonderful conveyances for fruits and vegetables) to get
your haul in one trip. (But please, oh please, pay extra attention to
fellow shoppers and the stalls as you push or pull your wheels through
10. Keep It Simple
buying ultra-fresh produce, let its natural flavor show when you cook
it. Keep preparations simple and you’ll make cooking easier, and you’ll
be likely to try (and eat) even more local foods next week.
11. A Bonus Tip
Just have a great time, enjoy the weather, exchange a few smiles and some conversation. A farmers market is a wonderful experience and you'll feel a part of the community. Talk one on one with the farmer, he's proud of what he grows.