If you haven’t spent much time at farmers markets, I know they can be a bit intimidating. Locals always know exactly where to go and what to buy, and seem to possess some kind of secret, cult-like knowledge of seasonal favorites and exclusive deals.
How is a farmers market noobie supposed to sort through the piles of exotic vegetables without feeling like an trespasser?
The reality is this: Farmers market fans can indeed be fanatical (I know I am), but the farmers themselves couldn’t be more friendly and welcoming. Here are my top 10 tips for fitting in at the farmers market and getting the most from being a locavore.
1. Arriving too late
Showing up at a farmers market in the late morning means big crowds and picked over produce. Beat the rush by going early and getting the best of the season. Morning light is also best for snapping pictures, if you’re into that sorta thing.
2. Forgetting to BYOB (bring your own bags!)
Most farmers markets provide small plastic bags for your purchases (in eco-friendly San Francisco, plastic has been banned and most vendors offer paper or compostable BioBags for a small price), but you definitely want to have a larger bag to carry your bounty or you’ll be heading home prematurely.
3. Buying staples
One of the advantages of shopping at a farmers market is that you get the best of the season from local farmers, which is likely to be different from your normal grocery store purchases. There’s nothing wrong with buying foods you know you like, but try to be adventurous with new produce. You may be pleasantly surprised. More...