How to Shop at a Farmer’s Market

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Farmer’s Markets are everywhere now, and they are one of the best places to buy local and organic produce. You can search this amazing site to find one near you.

Here are some fool-proof tips on making the most of your local farmer’s market:

  • As with any grocery shopping – eat before you shop. This is a tough one at most markets, with vendors and food trucks selling delectable made-to-order yumminess. Don’t worry, I would never suggest you miss out, just enjoy those veggie crepes or the decadent falafels before doing your shopping. This will help to keep your appetite from making all the decisions and you won’t end up buying more produce than you can possibly eat. This will also give you time to do a little “window shopping” beforehand to target the best looking stands.
  • Set a budget – since farmers markets are cash only, this makes for the perfect opportunity to set a spending limit and stick with it. If you only have x number of dollars in your pocket, then once it’s gone, it’s gone. You can find some great deals at farmers markets, especially if you aim for fresh produce. Try and keep specialty products like sauces or other pre-made items to just one or two a week.
  • Don’t overbuy – confession time…farmer’s markets, are my crack – my full on addiction to beautiful fresh organic produce kicks in and I suddenly want to buy EVERYTHING! But, at the end of the week when all of that beautiful food has grown legs and is crawling out of my fridge, the guilt sets in. Don’t make the same mistake, and always remember, there will be more delicious fruits and veggies there next week. However, if you do find by mid-week that you purchased a few too many fruits or veggies, simply cut them up and stash them in the freezer, they are perfect for tossing into cool refreshing smoothies or zesty gazpacho throughout the summer.
  • Look ahead – it’s always fun to think of all the amazing fresh wholesome meals we will make with all of these beautiful foods, but remember to take into account your week ahead. Do you have dinner meetings, or movie night with the girls, or is your partner traveling for work? The less overwhelmed you feel by all of the cooking you will be obligated to do just to prevent food waste, the less likely you will want to order a pizza and call it a night. When you keep things on a small scale, it takes the pressure off and makes it more doable. 
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment – this is the best place to branch out and try something new. The farmers know their products inside and out. They will gladly assist you with tips on how to properly choose these foods, chop and peel as well as prepare these items. You will learn everything you need to know about fruits and veggies from the growers themselves. No one knows produce like they do.

Good nutrition doesn’t happen through osmosis (unfortunately), we have to actually eat all of these nutrient dense fruits and veggies to improve our health. If it were just a matter of owning these medicinal foods, we’d all be perfectly healthy after a run to Whole Paycheck. So, be realistic, and buy what you know you will eat – and remember to give yourself a huge pat on the back for making these steps to eat the best food you can. Nothing happens overnight and with a little practice you will be a farmer’s market pro in no time.