Gerry and I (Shannon) love a morning at the farmer’s market. Wherever we have lived, we always find the local spot to grab locally grown produce, sourced honey, and any other goodies! When we moved to the east coast of NC, it definitely made things a little more difficult in regards to dining out, finding meat-less options, but the farms growing vegetables were of abundance.
There is something about a farmer’s market that stirs the tastebuds, and makes us want to use everything we see to cook a fun, and healthy meal. When we make purchases from local produce growers, we not only feel healthier, but we feel content with the fact that we are supporting local. Plus, I tend to believe that if farmers see that their produce sales are thriving, maybe they will venture away from farming animals.
Some tips for a great farmer’s market haul:
- Get there early! The earlier you arrive, the more options there are, and you are able to get the best picks of the fresh produce.
- Know your seasonal fruits/veggies- at farmer’s markets this tends to not be such a big deal, I mean, it is rare for you to be buying kiwi or strawberries in the winter at your local produce stand, but be aware. If you see out of season produce, it may not be local.
- Bring your own bags- first, you are contributing to keeping the costs low if your local farmer doesn’t have to provide bags, but also, really, it is better for the environment. Do we have to go there?
- Bring cash- again, if farmers are having to use card readers on their phone, the cost is higher for their transactions, and often that cost is passed along to you, so help yourself, and the farmer and bring the paper.
- Talk to the farmers. We like to talk to the people we are buying our produce from by getting to know more about their fields, their growing practices- are their practices chemical-free and/or organic? If they don’t farm animals, and only grow produce, then I make that farm a priority! It’s really cool to talk to those who source honey; they are passionate and you can learn so much about the process.
- Have a meal plan, but also be spontaneous! If you arrive with a general idea of what you will be cooking for the week, you can plan accordingly and make smart purchases. It’s also great to take a stab at something new. See a veggie you don’t usually eat, grab it and be experimental!
I’ve never met anyone who isn’t smiling when they are walking around a farmer’s market. It is a calming place to be, even when it is bustling with vendors and patrons. Ask around and find out where the local farmer’s market is to you and make a plan to visit it, and visit it often. You won’t be disappointed!