There is simply no replacement for fresh when it comes to fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, the produce you buy at the grocery store isn’t always in its prime and a lot of it is imported from other countries. If you want to enjoy the freshest produce, you may not have to go very far – just take advantage of your local farmers market. Keep reading to receive some simple tips for shopping at farmers markets this summer.
1. Ask Where It Came From
Don’t assume that just because someone is selling at a farmers market that they grew the food themselves. Some farmers markets allow resellers to set up shop, so you could be buying the same thing you’d be buying at the grocery store. If the produce is wrapped in plastic or if it is available out of season, there’s a good chance that it isn’t local or home-grown. When in doubt, just ask!
2. Shop for the Best Price
Throughout the spring, summer, and fall farmers markets are packed with vendors selling in-season produce. This gives you the opportunity to shop around for the best produce at the best price. Prices can vary greatly from one vendor to another, so walk a lap around the market before you settle in and start to buy. When you’re ready to shop, make sure you’re not only getting the best price – take the time to ensure that the produce is fresh as well.
3. Know What to Look For
The only way to get the freshest produce from a local farmers market is to know how to tell it’s fresh. There are different ways to test for freshness for different fruits and vegetables. In many cases, you can tell by smell – if the food has a sour odor or if it doesn’t smell the way it’s supposed to, it may not be fresh. For fruit, you want them to be ripe and tender but not soft. For veggies, you’re looking for crispness and a bright color.
4. Ask Plenty of Questions
In addition to asking where the produce comes from, it never hurts to ask about the farmer’s growing methods. Don’t assume that just because you’re shopping at a farmers market that everything is organic. If you’re not familiar with something, ask questions! If you need something you don’t see for sale, ask about it! If you’re buying in bulk, don’t be afraid to ask for a discount!
5. Try Something New
Shopping at farmers markets is a great way to try new things. At the grocery store, you might pay a premium for out-of-season produce or for exotic fruits and vegetables. At the farmers market, however, you might be able to find something unique at a decent price. When buying produce you’re unfamiliar with, don’t be afraid to ask how to prepare it!
If you enjoy fresh produce, the farmers market is the best place to get it during the summer and fall. By taking advantage of the tips provided above, you’ll be able to pick out the freshest of the fresh. So, what are you waiting for – head to your local farmers market!