By Julia Howard
It’s a common misconception that eating locally grown and produced food means spending more. In addition, rising food prices create tension around shopping and the strain on our wallets. Shopping and saving at the farmers’ market require a different approach than the one you use at the grocery store. With these tips, it’s easy and affordable to start enjoying the benefits of shopping local and eating fresh.
- Skip the shopping list
While a shopping list might keep you on track at the grocery store, it could inhibit your shopping at the farmers’ market and even make you spend more than you intend. Many products are consistent at the farmers’ market; however, seasonal produce are changeable. Shop with an open mind, find abundant produce that week, and create meals with those main ingredients in mind.
- Shop what’s in season
There are many benefits to buying fruit and vegetables in season. They are fresh, taste better, are more nutritious, and are often more affordable. Local farmers have a variety of overwintered produce like kale, beets, and mushrooms. Stored products such as apples, celeriac, and onions are available from the last growing season. And, as spring progresses, new items like arugula, bok choy, and pea shoots arrive weekly.
- Ask about seconds
Perfection is overrated, especially when it comes to food. At the farmers’ market, it’s worthwhile to check with farmers and vendors for slightly bruised produce or items that don’t quite meet restaurant standards. Your food will taste just as good!
- Know your farmer
Building relationships at the farmers’ market doesn’t necessarily mean earning deals and discounts. However, getting to know your farmer brings a new appreciation for food. Farmers offer cooking instructions and can help you find the most for your money.
- Go regardless of the weather
The weather can undoubtedly affect the foot traffic at any local business, especially as the farmers’ market is outdoors for six months of the year. Whether snow or rain, fewer customers mean that you can spend a little more time talking to farmers to build a relationship and talk about food.
Local farms and businesses appreciate the support from the community and provide many ways to make their products accessible and affordable.
This weeks recipe: Whatever Soup