Its summertime and you know what that means– farmers market season!
Ok fine. Tan skin, Whispering Angel, and s’mores all probably come to mind before farm fresh food but that’s not to say that farmers markets aren’t one of the best parts of summer.
Although they’re great, navigating a farmer’s market on a hot summer day can be quite an overwhelming experience. Not to worry, though– simply follow these 8 tips and make sure that you do the farmers market the right way.
Check the hours of the farmers market and try to get there on the earlier side. As the day goes on the inventory dwindles and by the afternoon, the pickings are a lot slimmer. Plus, going early in the day makes for a yummy lunch and dinner.
2. Know what’s in season, beforehand
Because there’s nothing worse than biting into a mealy Macintosh apple, make sure to study up on what foods are in season and will be available at the market. For summer, think watermelon, tomatoes, zucchini, peaches, corn, basil and more. Caprese salad anyone? #spoonhack: check out this “Seasonality Chart” for the Nashville farmer’s market.
3. Come with small bills
Oftentimes the farmers won’t have change to break a $50 bill for a $4 crate of tomatoes. Think back to the days of lemonade stands and come prepared with small bills that don’t require lots of rigmarole at the cash register.
4. Bring reusable bags
Sometimes vendors don’t have bags at their stands, which is great for the environment but annoying for a shopper who’s stocking up. No biggie just make sure to bring two or three from home and avoid the dreaded and inconvenient hands-full-juggle.
5. Come hungry
Even though it’s generally a bad idea to grocery shop while hungry, the farmers market is an exception. Most vendors usually love to give out samples to customers, so make like a young kid being dragged through the Costco aisles and don’t be shy.
6. Look but don’t touch
Local farmers take great pride in their products– after all they did all the cultivating! Definitely be a kid when it comes to sampling but don’t be a kid when it comes to picking out produce. Touch only the fruits and veggies that will be purchased.
7. Do a lap before purchasing anything
With dozens of booths offering all sorts of delicious options, it’s a good idea to check them all out before buying anything. Chances are every farmer will insist that their stuff is the most responsibly grown, the most organic, the most natural, etc.– in short, everything will look and sound appealing. Checking out all the options before making any impulsive purchases will prevent you from leaving broke.
8. Don’t worry about aesthetics
Grocery store produce has been buffed and shined to look irresistible. Farm fresh produce…not so much…but hey that’s a good thing. Ugly produce generally means it’s in the most natural state possible. A little dust on spinach leaves never hurt nobody!
Go ahead and embrace Farmers Market Season. The food is fresher, the farmers benefit, and the trip always makes for a fun summer outing. Just make sure to follow these tips so you navigate your local farmers market the right way.