It might not come as a surprise to you that one of my top five favorite activities is shopping for food. In the warm summer months, I try to do a lot of my food shopping at my local farmer’s market.
Shopping at a farmer’s market is a great way to get access to really fresh, healthy food.
The produce and meats are locally grown/raised and most of the other goods are homemade. Not only is the food at a farmer’s market generally more nutrient dense than food from a regular grocery store, shopping at these outdoor markets supports your local farmers as well.
Even though I love visiting farmer’s markets now, it wasn’t always that way.
I used to get intimidated by the weird-looking fruits and veggies you commonly find at the market (kohlrabi anyone?). It’s hard enough to navigate a conventional grocery store let alone one that’s outside in a tent with weird-looking food.
If you’re one of those people who’s a little intimidated by the farmer’s market, have no fear, my friend.
Here are my seven favorite tips for navigating the farmer’s market and putting yourself on the path to better health.
1. Take it all in.
When you arrive at the market, take some time to walk around and check out the offerings before your dive in. Most markets have more than on produce vendor, and those vendors may have similar veggies for sale. Scope out which ones are organic and which veggies or fruit look fresher. I always take at least one lap around the market before I pull out my wallet.
While there are some farmer’s markets that accept debit cards, I’ve found that most aren’t quite there yet. Make sure that you have some cash with you, or check online to see if your farmers market accepts debit cards.
3. Talk to the people selling your food.
One of the wonderful things about a small market is that most of the time, the people selling your food had a hand in actually growing that food. Introduce yourself! Ask them questions–about how the food was raised, about what they do on the farm. It’s always nice to know exactly where your food is coming from.
Just go for it. Buy veggies that you’re not sure how to prepare. When you get home, Google it and I’m sure you’ll find hundreds of recipes. Be adventurous and experiment with new foods.
Pastured eggs and meats ain’t cheap, but so far, I’ve found that grass-fed meats from my farmer’s market run about the same, or a little but less than those at Whole Foods. Generally, animal products at a small market will be a little more expensive than you think, but the veggies are often less expensive than those at the conventional stores.
In your initial market lap, check out which heavy items you might want to get and save those for last. Trust me. Or else you’ll be lugging them around from booth to booth. Ugh.
This one doesn’t need any explaining.
Now that you know how to navigate the farmer’s market there’s nothing stopping you from buying fresh, local produce and meats!
Not sure where your local market is? Check out Local Harvest to find one near you.