Last Updated on September 22, 2022 by Create Better Health
Have you visited your local farmers market? Farmers markets are a great place to find fresh, local fruits and vegetables. The popularity of markets has been on the rise, which means more vendors and more options for you! If you have never shopped at a farmers market, start small. Buy fresh ingredients to make a salad, or fruits and vegetables you already know how to use. Once you get more familiar, branch out and try new things.
Mother Nature plays a big part in the variety, timing, and abundance of fresh, local produce. You won’t always know what food items will be available at a farmers market. As you are planning your menu and shopping list for the week, leave a little wiggle room. Decide on your main dish and plan to fill in the rest with the fruits and veggies you find at the market. Salads, fresh fruit, a veggie tray, and fruit kabobs are all great ideas.
Here are a few more tips from eatright.org to Be A Savvy Farmers Market Shopper:
- Don’t be shy. The people selling products want to answer your questions.
- Do your homework. Find a market that’s in a convenient location and has hours that fit your schedule so you can easily add a shopping trip into your weekly routine.
- Time your outing. If you can only go on weekends, get there early. Otherwise, go on a weekday during the middle of the day. The less traffic in the market, the more opportunities you’ll have to get the best products and chat with vendors. If you’re shopping on a budget, going at the end of the market day will usually enable you to get some great deals and negotiate prices with the vendors.
- Bring cash and reusable bags. Small bills will make transactions easy, and you’ll need a bag to carry your purchases home.
- Become a gourmet. Ask the vendors for cooking suggestions; sometimes they even provide recipes. Vendors usually love to share tips on selecting and storing fruits and vegetables. You will also find our Food $ense Nutrition Educators at many markets across Utah!
- Be flexible. Accept that produce will not look perfect. But, it has been grown locally and picked recently, which means it’s packed with flavor and nutrients.
Many farmers markets across Utah accept EBT cards. Many also participate in Double Up Food Bucks, a program to help low-income families take home affordable fresh produce from local farmers. The best way to find out about the program is to subscribe to our monthly newsletter. Click here to subscribe.
With all that fresh produce coming your way, you’re going to need some new recipes! You’re in luck because we have a FREE Farmers Market Recipe Book. Download it here.
One of my favorite recipes for summer months is Pico de Gallo.
You can find many of the ingredients at the farmers market. Make a big batch of it to use different ways throughout the week. Eat it with homemade tortilla chips, in a taco or burrito, on top of grilled chicken, fish, or steak, or on top of a salad. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Enjoy!