We are in the peak season for so many tasty fruits and vegetables. Summer is the best time to find all the fresh produce! In Nashville, we are very lucky to have a wide variety of markets all over the city on any day of the week! They are a great way to spend a sunny afternoon, but farmers markets can be overwhelming at times. So, here are my 5 top tips to navigate your local farmers market
1. MAKE A PLAN
It is so important to make a plan before going grocery shopping. This is particularly important at the farmers market. Trust me, it is easy to walk up and see the first vendor with all the glorious produce. And you want it ALL. This could potentially lead to food waste and add up quickly. By having a plan, you know exactly what you need and it will help you too stay on task.
2. BRING CASH
Most vendors these days take credits cards using Square. However, there is typically a charge and/or tax on the item. If you bring cash, it is typically a flat rate for the item you choose. Plus, there could be potential haggling with cash vs. credit cards.
In addition to cash, most markets these days accept EBT and WIC vouchers. Farmers markets are a GREAT way to eat healthfully on a budget.
3. TAKE A LAP
This goes along with #1. It is easy to see the first vendor and want it all. But, before purchasing it all right then. Take a lap around the market. See what vendors are there that day, what they have available and the prices. You'll find different deals throughout. Then once you've made up your mind, go get it!
4. ASK THE FARMER
One of the best things about farmers markets is the ability to talk and meet the person that has grown and harvested the food before you. Get their advice. Ask them how to prepare a particular vegetables, how long will it last, or how to properly store it. And so much more! The farmers' are always so happy to share their knowledge and tips with you!
5. TRY SOMETHING NEW
Even though, #1 is to have a plan. I also recommend being open minded and flexible with your plan at the farmers market. You may come across a new food that you have never seen, heard of or tried before. This is a great place to change that! Ask the farmer more about it and ask if you can try it. Let the farmers market help make your plan. What I mean by this is to know where you can be flexible. For example, if you know Tuesday, you plan to make a vegetable as a side dish. Let the in season produce at the market dictate what that vegetable will be. Green beans, potatoes, greens, onions, tomatoes, squash are all in season now. Pick one and enjoy!
What are your top tips for shopping at your local farmers market? Share with us below or by #MealPlanningMethod.