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How to “Farmers’ Market” In 5

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Farmer’s Markets have become very popular. From young to old, hipsters to food junkie’s, people have been embracing the local farmers markets. Stats  by the USDA revealed that over the past five years the number of farmers’ markets in the United States has jumped from 4,685 in 2008 to 8,268 in 2014; that’s a 76 percent increase. Everyone rides their bikes over and drinks their iced lattés in reusable cups. They’re out to see and be seen and it’s the social highlight of our summer mornings. Now don’t get me wrong, I am definitely one of those people. I do find it important to support local produce, however, it is very easy to get swept up in the novelty of it all and end up spending way to much money and not getting out of it what you want. Here are the “5” for a successful trip to your local Farmers Market.

1.)   Bring Your Own Bag

This one seems obvious but is key. Besides the fact that plastic bags are an environmental nightmare they are also very inefficient. I have a reusable bag that I clip to the side of my purse and I always have it with me. It unfolds into a huge sturdy bag that I can usually fit everything I want to buy. One or two sturdy reusable bags are much easier to carry than 12 flimsy one-use bags that will end up in a pile under your kitchen sink.

2.)   Make a List/ Plan

Farmers Markets are a feast for the eyes. There is so much good stuff everywhere you look that it is easy to accidentally end up with two pounds of the most beautiful carrots you have ever seen. Then you are eating carrot soup and carrot pie all week because you don’t know what to do with them all. Take a walk up and down and check out the scene before you buy anything and then make a plan of what you want to get and make for the week.

3.)   Buy one “Wild Card” Item

There is usually that one booth with the questionable fruit or vegetable on the table. Try it! Buy at least one thing that you never tried before; chances are it’s a locally grown food that you could grow in your own backyard if you wanted. Grocery stores promote mono crops and the one variety of that plant that will transport and preserve well. There are about 7,000 different varieties of tomatoes for goodness sake! Enjoy the varieties that are available to you when eating local.

4.)   Talk to your Farmers

Yes, talk to strangers. Why? So they aren’t strangers to you any more. One of the reasons most of us go to Farmers Markets-besides to see and be seen-is to be more connected to what we are eating. Talk to your farmers and find out what is in season, what survived the artic like temperatures we had in early spring? What didn’t? Get the dirt from the guys and gals who get in the dirt and grow your food.

5.)   Eat one thing there

Now this one is for the sheer joy of eating fresh food. Dig into that huge reusable bag, past that new variety of collards you are going to make a stir fry with tonight and grab a big handful of fresh ripe blueberries and eat the whole basket of them. As you leave, everyone will be looking at you enjoying your recent buy and will want to check out the Farmer’s Market too. This is a way you can help promote the EAT LOCAL movement! Enjoy!

 

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