Tips to make the most out of your Farmers Market trip

Did you know that June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month? Celebrate by visiting your local farmers market. Farm fresh produce is the perfect delicious addition to any summer meal. There are many farmers markets in our district. Then, gear up for some awesome shopping with the following in mind:

1. Go early. The best produce is often found right when the market opens. Avoid choosing from picked over produce by arriving at your local market as early as possible.

2. Go often. Buy only as much as you will use within a few days, and store produce (except tomatoes) in the refrigerator or in a cool, dark place. Flavor and nutrients diminish quickly.

3. Plan ahead. If you don’t plan to go straight home from the market, take a cooler so that fresh items won’t spoil in a warm car.

4. Bring cash. Most vendors appreciate it if you have small bills for purchasing. And while some larger markets will accept credit cards, most will not accept personal checks.

5. Take your time. Scope out the entire market before making your selections. Prices and types of produce vary among the different vendors. You’ll want to shop just as wisely here as anywhere else.

6. Try something new. While having access to the produce you enjoy regularly is important, so is sampling offerings that may be new to you. Educate yourself in the world of food by picking up something you’ve never tried before and then talking about the product with the local farmer selling it. You’ll learn and taste something new.

7. Talk to the farmers. Make connections with the local farmers in your area. You might glean some unique cooking tips or even recipe ideas.

8. Bright is best. Look for blemish-free, brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Any bruised or damaged produce will spoil quickly.

9. Don’t wash produce right away. Wash fresh produce just before cooking or serving — not before storing.

10. Recycle, reduce, reuse. You’re already steward of the environment by shopping at your local farmers market, so remember to take it one step further and bring your own canvas bags, baskets or boxes to carry away your purchases for the day.

Cindy Williams40 Posts

Cindy Williams is the Meadowlark Extension District agent in the areas of food and nutrition.

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