Make the Most Out of Your Local Farmers Market

Visiting your local farmers market is a double-win: A fun excursion and a great way to get connected to fresh, local, and healthy food.

Check your local events calendar or search “farmers market near me” to see where farmers markets will pop up. Saturday is a popular day for farmers markets, but cities and suburban areas are increasingly offering shopping opportunities on weekday afternoons and evenings. You can sign up for emails or texts to remind you of when and where your favorite farmers markets are open for business.

Farmers markets are a perfect destination for your next road trip, too. If you’re headed out on a vacation, plan ahead to venture off the interstate and shop regional produce. You’ll find snacks—or even a whole meal—far better than what’s on offer at the gas station or fast-food restaurant.

To make the most of your farmers market adventure, keep these shopping tips in mind:

01

BYOB(ags)

Two bags are best—an insulated tote for items like eggs, meat, fish or cheese, for example, and a regular sturdy, reusable bag for produce.

Also, be sure to bring a couple of different payment options. Most farmers market vendors will likely take credit cards, but you might want to be prepared with some cash (in small denominations to eliminate the need for getting change back) for speedier checkouts.

02

Go early

You’ll get the best selection, plus leave time in your day to clean, prep, and properly put away any produce when you get home.

03

Get to know the market

farmers market

Do a quick tour of all the vendors when you arrive, scanning the goods to see what looks best. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the delicious options, so think about the week ahead and shop with your menus in mind.

04

Mingle!

Get to know farmers (and their customers), too.

Vendors can offer you tips on proper storage and preparation, advice on what produce is peaking, and may even offer a free sample. Strike up conversation with other shoppers, too, and get some scoop on what’s especially tasty that day. Part of the fun of a farmers market is enjoying the company of your fellow foodies.

05

Be adventuresome

fresh produce

Your farmers market is the perfect venue for culinary exploration.

If you run across a vendor offering something you’ve never tried (or even heard of) ask about it to learn more. You’ll likely see artisans who have crafted cheese or sauces and dips that will make amazing partners to the produce or proteins you’re already buying.

And don’t reject irregular or “ugly” produce—you might find a bargain.

06

Prep properly

When you arrive home with your haul, you’ll want to immediately refrigerate any purchases that should stay cold. It’s also a good time to inspect and wash your produce.

If it’s the weekend, take advantage of extra time to peel and chop produce for easy meal prep later.

While farmers markets offer fresh, locally grown fruits and veggies, produce can still be contaminated with Salmonella, E. coli and other bacteria. Always wash your hands first and use separate cutting boards for produce and raw meat to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.

A final thought: If you have kids, bringing them along to the farmers market is a good lesson on where our food comes from and can be educational in other ways, too. Talk to them about the colors of the fruits and vegetables, ask them to do the math on purchases, and introduce them to your community’s farmers. Having extra hands to carry those bags can’t hurt, either.

Bonus Recipe!

Depending on what’s fresh at your farmer’s market, you can try different vegetables and herbs with these kabobs.

Consider also skewering your favorite protein—chicken, fish, shrimp, or beef—alongside vegetable kabobs and serve on rice or another favorite grain. Leftovers are perfect on a salad the next day.

Grilled Vegetable Kabobs

Total Time: 40 minutes Servings: 6


grilled veggie kabobs

Image and recipe courtesy Mayo Clinic

Ingredients

  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced into circles
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 10 cremini mushrooms, halved or quartered
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into chunks
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, fresh, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Soak 6 wood skewers in water for at least 30 minutes while you wash and prepare the vegetables
  2. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat, or use a grill pan that can accommodate the full length of the skewers
  3. Place all vegetables in a large bowl
  4. Add the garlic, fresh herbs, oil, salt and pepper
  5. Toss until evenly coated
  6. Skewer the vegetables and place on the grill (or grill pan)
  7. Turn every 2 minutes until fully cooked, totaling about 5-8 minutes
  8. You can also partially cook the vegetable skewers on the grill, giving them great grill marks and flavor, and finish them later in a high-temperature oven
323 Comments
  • Shirley Gonzales
    Posted at 21:48h, 10 June

    Ty

  • Donna V Ackerman
    Posted at 16:58h, 10 June

    Thanks

  • Ilene
    Posted at 13:46h, 10 June

    Thanks

  • Emily Mercado
    Posted at 09:50h, 10 June

    Thanks

  • Sheryl Knibbe
    Posted at 09:27h, 10 June

    Thanks!

  • stacy carroll
    Posted at 09:04h, 10 June

    Thsnk you

  • Jennifer Suchecki
    Posted at 23:14h, 09 June

    Thank you

  • Sukhwinder singh
    Posted at 13:57h, 09 June

    Thanks helpful

  • Anthony Giovinale
    Posted at 13:27h, 09 June

    Thanks

  • Juan A Marrero
    Posted at 11:39h, 09 June

    Thanks for the tips.

  • jennie holman
    Posted at 13:10h, 08 June

    thank you good information

  • Kristie Flowers
    Posted at 00:26h, 08 June

    Farmers markets are great

  • Barbara Fleetwood
    Posted at 20:17h, 07 June

    Thanks

  • Emily Mercado
    Posted at 13:11h, 03 June

    Thanks! Love our Farmers markets.

  • Chris
    Posted at 12:55h, 30 May

    Thanks

  • Willie Felder
    Posted at 07:52h, 29 May

    Very good advice

  • Norman Dyer
    Posted at 01:11h, 29 May

    Thanks

  • Christine M Thompson
    Posted at 00:23h, 29 May

    Excellent!

  • Guy Tettenhorst
    Posted at 00:22h, 29 May

    Great recipe!

  • Olga Riney
    Posted at 23:30h, 28 May

    Thank you

  • Margaret+Grimm
    Posted at 22:57h, 28 May

    Thanks

  • Ali ben abdallah
    Posted at 22:55h, 28 May

    Thank you

  • Stacey Rachelle Jones
    Posted at 22:28h, 28 May

    Thank you.

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