The Ultimate Guide to Farmers Markets: What to Buy

This is the second post in our two-part series, The Ultimate Guide to Farmers Markets, where we focus on the best ingredients to pick up at your local market. Not all fruits and veggies are created equal! Read Part 1 here for a comprehensive list of markets across San Francisco, Seattle, Portland and Los Angeles.

The weather is warmer and the nights are longer, making weekends the perfect time to do some outdoor shopping! Local farmers markets are get even more colorful and beautiful during the spring, offering plenty of fresh, seasonal ingredients. But navigating a farmers market as well as knowing what spring foods are in season to purchase (and what to avoid) can be an art all of its own!

Check out some of our best tips on why you should visit a farmers market this spring and summer, how to navigate one, and what is in season this spring.

Why Visit a Farmers Market?

Besides that shopping at a farmers market means enjoying the great outdoors for a few hours, you are more likely to deviate from your regular grocery-store purchases and try a few new items. Plus, buying food produced in your region likely means that it’s incredibly fresh, and probably tastes even better than usual. At a farmers market, you’re purchasing the best, most fresh spring foods in season, direct from the source.

And if great taste and freshness aren’t enough to convince you, purchasing food from a farmers market can help out your local economy and keep small businesses thriving.

Farmers Market Tips

To ensure you have the very best experience at your local Farmers Market, follow some of our tips:

Talk to Vendors: They’re there for a reason and are experts on local ingredients and produce, so don’t be afraid to ask the vendors questions. Chances are they also had a hand in helping to grow the very items you’re purchasing. They can help you select the most ripe or freshest items, answer questions about particular ingredients, recommend spring foods in season or even give advice on how to best prepare the items.

Taste Test: Many of the vendors will offer you a sample or have some already available—be sure to take advantage and taste everything you can. If you’re looking for a specific ingredient for a recipe, you will definitely want to taste to make sure what you’re purchasing has the right flavors. And even better, tasting some of the items vendors have to offer can mean you try some bold, new things and find your new favorite snack.

What to Bring with You: Make sure that you grab some cash from the bank or ATM before heading to the farmers market—there’s nothing worse than finding the perfect eggplant for your recipe and not being able to purchase it because the vendor doesn’t accept credit or debit cards. You’ll also want to bring your own reusable bag—you can throw everything in one bag and not have to worry about carrying around multiple bags.

What’s Great to Purchase Now?

The warm spring weather has brought a whole new crop of fresh produce! In the spring, here’s what’s in season—keep an eye out for these fruits and vegetables:

·    Artichokes
·    Arugula
·    Asparagus
·    Fava Beans
·    Green Beans
·    Beets
·    Cherries
·    Greens
·    Leeks
·    Mint
·    Morels
·    Oranges
·    Parsley
·    Peas
·    Radishes
·    Ramps
·    Rhubarb
·    Green onions/scallions

Categories: Tips, Food

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