6 Reasons to Love Farmer's Markets continued...
5. You can ask an expert. At the individual fruit or vegetable stands, you can often ask the growers or helpers about the produce they are selling. You'll learn something every week. On my last farmer's market shopping spree, I learned that it's going to be a poor cherry season here in Northern California. It seems the unusually heavy rain we had in spring washed too many blossoms off the cherry trees.
6. Inspiration. There is nothing quite like the vibrant colors, fresh smells, and fabulous flavors of a farmer's market to get you excited about incorporating the gorgeous bounty of produce into as many meals and recipes as possible.
Tips for Farmer's Market Shopping
Here are 5 things you should know before you hit the farmer's market:
- Be spontaneous. See what looks good and is priced well, and then plan lunch, dinner and/or dessert! It's your chance to be spontaneous.
- Bring cash. Cash is the currency du jour at most farmer's markets, so bring a bundle of small bills and you are good to go. I usually bring about $40 and spend around $30.
- Take one lap first. Tour the market, and comparison-shop and taste before you start buying. There could be three stands selling strawberries, and there could be a difference in price and taste between them. See which stand you like best before you commit to your flat of berries.
- BYOB (bring your own bag - with handles). You'll find it easier to carry around your produce purchases (a basket here and a 1-pound bag of zucchini there) if you're carrying them around in a bag with handles.
- Look beyond the produce. At your typical farmer's market, it isn't just about the produce. At my town's market, there are items like honey, bread, cookies, flavored olive oils and vinegars, jams and preserves, and nuts. And how can I forget the intoxicating smell of freshly popping kettle corn? (I'm usually good for a small bag of the cinnamon-flavored kettle corn.)
Farmer's Market Recipes
Here are some recipes in which you can use those fabulous farmer's market finds.