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FOOD 101: Farmers Market Tips

What, you haven’t yet been to a farmers market this summer? You’re missing out on gorgeous produce and other goodies.

Here are some tips from Birds & Blooms, America’s leading bird and garden magazine, to help make your visit easy, stress-free and, dare we say it, fruitful!

  • DON’T expect it to be a quick trip. In general, farmers markets are leisurely, and most people peruse the goods at a relaxed pace.
  • DO plan to pay in cash, and ideally bring small bills. The sellers are actual farmers, not retailers who are set up to accept cash and credit cards.
  • DON’T eat before you go. There’s more to a farmers market than fresh veggies. Local food vendors set up shop with tempting fresh-baked sweets, breads, farmstead cheeses, fresh apple cider and other goodies.
  • DO bring your own sturdy tote bag. Vendors often have bags, but you’ll probably buy more than you think; so a big, heavy-duty carryall is best. It’s also the green way to go.

    Plan a few fun hours at a farmers market. Photo courtesy Reiman Publications.

  • DO have a little bit of a plan. The market can be overwhelming when you first arrive. Know how many meals you’ll be preparing that week, so you’ll have an idea of how much you need. And allow some time to peruse the market first. If you buy those berries at the first stall, you’ll be frustrated when you see bigger, redder, less expensive berries from another vendor.
  • DON’T be shy. The people who sell the food are often the same ones who grow it. Ask questions and seek advice, including cooking tips. They’re happy to provide answers.
  • DO shop outside the box. Never tried kale? Pick up a fresh bunch at the market. At the least, get a few apples or other fruits in varieties you’ve never had before.
  • DON’T be overwhelmed if you find you’ve bought too much. Since everything seems so appealing, it’s not hard to do! Many items can be frozen, or lightly steamed and frozen. Or, share them with neighbors and friends.
  • DO make a list of things you didn’t buy this time. Plan how to use them following your next visit.

    Related Food Videos: For more food videos, check out The Nibble's Food Video Collection.

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