It's farmer's market time - and according to my wife - the best time of the year to buy fruits and vegetables. Now I have a little trouble without the signs and explanations of each type of produce found at my local grocery store. But here's what I've learned about the farmer's market and some tips to help even the newbie get the most out of their experience.
- Bring your own bags. Some of the farmers will have pastic grocery bags for you to take your purchases home in - but hey, it's no longer cool to use plastic. So bring your own large, reusable grocery bag and you'll blend right in!
- Get there early! The "in the know-ers" get there at open - so they pick through the best stuff early. If you want to try to find the perfect tomato - getter set your alarm clock!
- Make a list - know what you can use and how you are going to use it before you go! There are going to be items that you've never heard of before - and if you want to try those, great - but don't get caught coming home with ONLY the items that you've never heard of before! Make sure you pick up your staples that you are going to use for the week.
- Take a look around before purchasing. Walk around the market and check out each of the booths - the farmers will have different items and some the same. Before you decide on your purchases - make sure you've seen all they have to offer.
- Wash and store your items when you get home. One of the most useful things I've learned is to wash and prepare (cut, chop, bag, store) my produce immediately when I get home. This makes for safe eating, and easy eating. If the fruits and vegetables are clean and prepared, I'm more likely to grab them and use them.
- If you don't know what it is - just ask!!!! There are plenty of friendly folks working at the farmer's market. They will be glad to help you out identifying produce items that you've never seen before and/or help you with ideas for consuming them!
- GO. That's right - give it a try. If you've never gone to a farmer's market, that's ok - but this year, just go. Try it one day before it's too late. "I really regret going to that farmer's market" said no one, ever!
In my town, Castle Rock Colorado, the farmer's market runs every Saturday morning from 8a-1p July 13 - October 5th. CLICK HERE for a great site to see this info and find your local farmer's market.