Shopping at your local farmers market is more popular than ever.
Farmers meet consumers one-on-one to sell their just-picked crops and suggest the best ways to cook them.
Friends and neighbors, often with their kids and dogs in tow, chat about the weekend and compare purchases.
Crazy colored heirloom tomatoes! Purple potatoes!
Candy-striped beets! Sweet corn, peaches, okra and onions. Locally made goat cheese and honey! Asiago cheese bread!
The taste benefits drive shoppers to farmers’ markets but the health benefits of enjoying freshly picked fruits and vegetables are a big attraction, too. Add to that the good feeling of supporting local farmers and food producers with your purchases and farmers’ markets are a great place to shop.
But, how do you choose the best peaches? The ripest tomatoes? And what do you do with that strange looking squash?
Farmers Market Secrets Watch CBS Better Mornings Video Here!
Farmers Market Shopping List of Tips:
-Try to get there early! Look on line for list of farmers and food producers who attend each Farmers’ Market to help plan ahead. I go to the Peachtree Road Farmers Market on Saturdays.
I get everything from ears of corn to cute earrings from the artisans there.
-Jump into the season: what’s seasonal now? If it is in season it will taste best and cost less
-Talk to the farmers, if they grew it, they are happy to tell you how to cook it. Don’t be shy! Hey farmers are the new celebrities!!!
-Buy some ripe, and buy some not so ripe!!! That way the harder peaches or greener tomatoes will ripen up during the week so if you buy on Saturday, they’ll be just right on Wednesday. Actually, produce is so often so fresh at the market, it’ll stay fresh for a week. Then it’s time to go back!
-Imperfections can taste best, the “ugliest” tomato is likely to be an heirloom variety with more tomato flavor. Try varieties or vegetables you’ve never tasted before.
-Bring your own reusable bags to be earth friendly – but please folks – make sure they’re clean!!! Did you know that dirty bags can contaminate your perfect produce?
– Have small bills in cash. It will be easier and faster to make transactions with the farmers and producers. Credit cards are a pain and they cost the farmer money. Be a friend to the farmer!
-Look for perishable foods such as cheeses, yogurts and sausages displayed on ICE! Food safety is important. And have a cooler with ice in the car to place perishable purchases.
-Create a Farmers’ Market Ready Pantry at home with staples such as whole-wheat flour, granola cereals, canola oil, olive oils, and spices to turn those fresh finds into fabulous dishes.
I like to bake peaches and top with Sunbelt Bakery Granola to make a Peach Granola Crunch.
Happy and Healthy Shopping at the Farmers Market of your choice, folks!