Friday, August 1, 2014

Farmer’s Market Survival Guide

Photo courtesy Rhett Maxwell
If you have never been to a farmer’s market before, prepare yourself for a lot of amazing fresh produce and baked goods to choose from. While it’s a benefit to have possibilities, it can also be a little overwhelming. With some help from Apartment Therapy, you’ll be ready to grab your roommate and re-usable bags and hit the market in no time!

1. Come prepared. Bring bags, small bills, sunscreen, comfortable shoes and a list. I have a bad habit of not writing out what I need to get and leaving with popcorn, pastries, candied nuts and oh-so-conveniently leaving out the veggies. Preparing a plan helps keep you on track.

2. Be flexible. Farmers markets carry only what is locally in season and, depending on harvest, this can change from week to week. Being flexible and willing to make substitutions ensures that you will always have produce at its prime.

3. Walk a lap. Before you start shopping walk the length of the market to asses who has the freshest produce and the best prices, then work your way backwards through the vendors. This insures that you get the most bang for your buck.

4. Ask about deals. Some vendors offer discounts if you buy certain quantities of things or discount overripe fruit and unsold items at the end of the day.

5. Realize it's not a one-stop shop. While you can often find a range of products (eggs, cheese, olives ,etc.), assessing what you'll need to pick up elsewhere to supplement your market finds can help you fit your fresh produce into some delicious recipes, instead of letting it languish in the fridge.

6. Research new ingredients. Websites like our own Kitchn and apps like Epicurious are great for figuring out how to utilize new-to-you ingredients like dandelion greens and squash blossoms. You might just discover a new favorite dish.

What is your favorite farmer’s market? What are some herbs, fruits or veggies you must buy when you’re there?


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