Family Health, Nutrition and Fitness, Your Health tlong05 | 7 years ago

10 Ways to Make the Most of Your Trip to the Farmers Market

By Stephanie Kinner, RD, LDN Farmers markets are a great way to find fresh and sometimes unique types of produce. From peaches to eggplant, vendors travel from all over the region to peddle their homegrown goodness and often at affordable prices. To make the most out of your trip, check out these tips from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture:

1. Walk Around First

Most farmers markets will feature several farmers selling the same type of produce. Check out the variety of picks – the best cantaloupes may be at the next booth.

2. Ask Questions

If you see produce you don’t recognize, ask questions about it. Vendors and farmers love to share their knowledge and help with cooking tip and recipes.

3. Taste Test

If you can’t tell if something is ripe and flavorful, offer to pay for a taste. Buying one tomato may save you from buying a bushel of tasteless ones.

4. Try Something New

Challenge yourself to buy one thing each week that you’ve never had before. Ask the farmer the best way to enjoy it.

5. Pick Wisely

Ask when the produce was picked. This can be important since some foods, such as corn and peas, can lose their appealing sugars quickly.

6. Take a Look

Know that often the prettiest peach or apple may not be the tastiest. However, if anything is bruised, wilted, or tired-looking, don’t buy it.

7. Size isn’t Everything

Often the smaller ear of corn, zucchini, or green bean is sweeter. Remember, pickling cucumbers can be delicious eaten raw. They often have distinctive, especially appealing character.

8. Compare Prices

You can price shop at the farmers market. The best buy might be down the next row.

9. Keep it Cool

If you plan to make your trip on your lunch break, be sure to take your picks back inside with you. For fruits and veggies best kept cool, toss some ice cubes from your freezer in plastic storage bags and keep your picks fresh in a cooler.

10. Go Green and Not Just With Your Veggies

Recycle grocery store plastic bags by bringing them with you and asking dealers to use them instead of theirs. Better yet, bring your own tote bags to the market. With the flavors of just-harvested foods, you can keep your dishes simple. Enjoy your farmers market picks!