I love summer! Long days, warm nights, beach parties, family picnics, and amazing food! The farmer’s market is exploding with fresh produce!
Here are 5 tips for shopping your local farmers market:
1. Try before you buy
Use this as an opportunity to try new things. Taste different varieties of radishes, tomatoes or squash; maybe there is a fruit or vegetable you have never tried. The farmer’s market is a great place to ask the farmer questions. Learn exactly how the food was grown, where it is from and what environmental practices are used. There is a difference in compost! Compost is a farmers secret ingredient for making mouth-watering produce taste the way it does. Taste the difference between local farmers and you will find a favourite!
2. Organic vs. Organic practices
Some farmers actually use organic practices without being certified organic. I have found this to be a great way to save a little money in addition to supporting a farmer trying to switch to organic. Ask how they manage pests without spraying, how they rotate their fields, how they source their seeds. You can learn a lot from a simple conversation.
3. Regular visits
If you visit regularly, you will begin to build a rapport with the farmers you frequent. What’s the benefit? You will get the best deal, the best produce and sometimes a few ‘extras’. As with most relationships, it is a two way street. One local farmer that I frequently buy from always gives me a couple of apricots on the side because he knows I love them!
4. Pick the best
Ask how to select produce. Do you want to eat it today? Tomorrow? In 3 days? They will help you pick the proper ripeness according to when you want to eat it. The best part about this is you will learn how to select produce better and thereby eliminate produce waste.
5. Prepare it well
Of course the internet is bursting with videos and recipes of how to prepare just about every food imaginable. Sometimes less is more. Some of the simplest ingredients can yield the most delicious food. For example, at my farmer’s market, I was introduced to romanesco zucchini prepared with just a little olive oil, fresh basil and salt. That’s it. It is now a staple in my refrigerator, sliced up and ready to snack on. The rich nutty flavour is is delicious.
Supporting your local farmer’s market is a great way to support your community. Your dollar speaks loud and when it is used to support local business instead of big businesses everyone in your community wins. Supporting your local farm’s market is a great way to support the environment. When food travels a few miles instead of a few hundred miles you are helping to cut emissions and waste. Supporting your local farm’s market is good for you. Locally grown fruits and vegetables taste better because they are picked at their peak of ripeness instead of unripe and left to ripen as they travel hundreds of miles. Further you will save time and money. Bring the whole family and create a fun weekly ritual.
What is your favourite way to spend the summer?
What is your biggest challenge in maintaining a real, whole, plant-based diet? Is there something you need help with? Just let us know and we will help you stay on board!
Happy Summer! Happy Life! Happy Day!