Summer is here and what better way to increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables than by visiting your local farmers market. Outdoor farmers markets are a great place to buy fresh, nutritious, and locally grown foods. (Use this market locator to find one near you.)
Here are some tips to shop the farmers market like a pro:
- Go early so you can walk through the market and scope out what you want to buy that day. You can see what produce is in season and which stands have the best selection and price. By getting there early, you get the best pick of the produce available.
- Get your kids involved by having them pick out a new fruit or vegetable to try each week. Some stands have samples of their products and its a great way for kids to try new things.
- Shop first at the farmers market before you do your weekly grocery shopping at the store. Since it is hard to predict what will be at the market, stop there first and then buy anything that wasn’t available at the grocery store.
- Talk to the vendors about their food. And don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t recognize a fruit or vegetable. Vendors love talking about their food and usually have great tips or recipes on how to prepare them. You can even talk to them about items they have on their truck that are not displayed, such as some not-so perfect, marked-down tomatoes for making sauce.
- Come prepared with reusable bags and bring cash in small bills. Carrying your own reusable grocery bags with you minimizes waste for the environment and saves the vendor a few cents a bag. Also, many farmers markets only accept cash and may not have exact change for large bills.
- Get cooking with your fresh finds. There are lots of delicious farmers market recipes out there!
—by Laura Quinn, RDN, CDN Sodexo Dietitian at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital