Get the Most Out of Your Farmers Market
Open-air markets provide fresh local offerings and a chance to connect with your community.
From Sacramento to Savannah, Phoenix to Fargo, locals are passing on the big-box stores and instead picking out their produce at the nearest farmers market. And why not? These open-air markets -- most of them weekly, many of them year-round -- make it easier than ever before to know where your food comes from.
A U.S. News & World Report article today called out 11 of America's best farmers markets -- in smaller communities such as Davis, Calif., as well as major metropolitan areas such as Washington, D.C. -- prized for their reputation, versatility, online user reviews and overall atmosphere.
While these top-notch markets warrant a visit if you're close, the whole point of buying local is supporting the community in which you live.
New to the market? If shaking hands with the farmer who grew that organic apple in your basket sounds like a throwback to a bygone era, that's precisely the point. To get the most of your farmers market visit, here are a few tips:
- Go early. Chefs and foodies go first thing in the morning, so you should, too, if you're serious about scoring the best -- and freshest -- ingredients.
- Go online. More and more markets, like the SFC Farmers' Market in Austin, Texas, are using social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter to tell their fans and followers about specific vendors and specials to expect. The markets' websites frequently feature recipes for all that produce you've never heard of before, too.
- Go regularly. Farmers' markets are equal parts food shopping and community building, so get to know the farmers. Try their wares; talk to them about the products. And if you think $7.99 is an outrageous sum to spend on a pound of organic zucchini, remember that the farmers need your patronage to survive -- and that the vegetables will be outrageously tasty.
Join the trend; if you've got the opposite of a green thumb, this may be the closest you'll come to garden-fresh fruits and veggies.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
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- I rarely get to enjoy either