One of the greatest joys of summer is visiting a local farmer’s market and taking advantage of nature’s bounty.
The offerings can and should vary from week to week. As we ease into August, expect the motherlode: depending on where you live geographically, this is likely the highest yield for locally-grown fruits and veggies.
If you are like me, sometimes I get carried away when visiting a market. It is inevitably a nice day, spirits are high amongst all of the attendees. There is an overall feeling of peace community. You likely will have a delicious cup of coffee in your hand, and may be tempted by a baked good or two. The vibrant colors of the market vegetables will grab your attention, as will the robust aroma of the season’s timely fruits. There’s an air of happy hustle and bustle. It’s an all-around captivating experience, and I have to stop myself from pulling out my wallet at each vendor’s stand. Exercise some patience, and learn a bit about your particular market. A little time and research will pay dividends in terms of the quality and value of the produce you procure.
It’s a great idea to establish a relationship with a vendor or two. They will appreciate your loyalty, big time. Your loyalty will ensure dialogue between you and the vendor/farmer, and guarantee that you get the best produce at the best price. Vet out the vendors carefully – most markets require vendors to sell only local produce, but others do not. Be sure to be savvy enough not to fall into the trap of purchasing day-old produce that a vendor purchased from your local grocery store -and is selling it back to you at a premium. Be sure to come armed with small change and your own bag to haul your goods home.
Buy organic! Really, you should not buy non-organic produce from your farmer’s market. Ideally, you should be buying from a vendor who runs a small, local operation which can more easily control an organic farm.