06 Mar How to Shop at the Farmer’s Market
Warmer weather is right around the corner. Spring and summer bring many things, and if you’re not a fan of cold weather, you’re probably excited for the season change. One thing that comes in spring is the farmer’s market. Depending on where you live, you might have a year-long market or you might have an outdoor, seasonal market in the spring and summer. Your local farmer’s market is a great place to find seasonal produce. Not only can you save a little money, but you’ll also be getting fresh food. We’ve talked before about how important nutrition is to controlling chronic pain symptoms, and a local farmer’s markets is a great chance to put your nutrition knowledge into practice. Keep reading to learn more about how to shop at the farmer’s market.
What is a farmer’s market?
While farmer’s markets can be different depending on the location, they are generally a gathering of local growers, producers and farmers who bring local food and goods to sell. One of the best things about the farmer’s market is knowing you’re getting local, fresh food. This can reduce transportation costs and help control the price of the food you buy. In addition, the USDA recommends shopping at the farmer’s market to make sure you are getting produce during peak growing season. Because food is not transported or frozen and locally sourced, you can ensure that the food you buy is fresh and in-season.
How to shop at the farmer’s market
So, how do you shop at a farmer’s market? What should you know before you go? We’ve pulled together a few tips and things to remember as you head out to the market.
1. UNDERSTAND THE SEASONS
Now, you don’t need to be an expert to know the seasons. Learning which produce is fresh in which season doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, just a quick search on the internet can help you know what to expect. If you see produce that isn’t in season or produce that isn’t grown in your area, be suspicious. This may mean it was frozen, though if you’re shopping at a small market, you likely won’t have this problem.
2. DON’T HAVE A RIGID PLAN
Because farmer’s markets aren’t grocery stores, the options may change regularly. Planning out a few meal ideas or things to look for is a good idea. That way, you can budget and know what to look for. However, part of the fun of the farmer’s market is not always knowing what to expect. If you go with a rigid plan and list, you may be disappointed. Be open to changing up your meals and ask vendors what they suggest for substitutions.
3. WALK A LAP
If you’re at a market on your town square or a larger market, you might want to walk around before making choices. Many times, multiple vendors will be selling the same products, so you can survey which you’d like to purchase. Getting a general idea of what’s available can also help you refine your list or meal ideas. Not to mention, getting some extra walking in isn’t a bad thing!
4. TRY SOMETHING NEW
The farmer’s market may have some produce or products you’ve never seen before in a grocery store. What a perfect time to try something new! Venture out and try a vegetable you haven’t seen before or try using different parts of vegetables you might normally throw away (like carrot greens). If you’re unsure what something is or how to prepare it, ask the vendor to give you tips and ideas.
Ready to go?
Are you ready to shop at the farmer’s market? If you live in Tennessee, here is a list of regional markets across the state. Many markets may not open until May, giving you plenty of time to prepare. In the meantime, try our guide to grocery shopping on a budget and stock up on some essentials. Remember, nutrition is an important aspect of controlling chronic pain. For more nutrition tips, click here for more blog posts.
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