Tips for Shopping @ Farmers Markets

With the new school year already here for some and fast approaching for others, it may feel like summer is coming to an end. Luckily farmers markets are a wonderful part of summer that stick around into the fall! Shopping at a farmers market is different than the grocery store. Here are some tips for readers who may not have given it a try before or found it to be overwhelming.

1.) Plan ahead. Bring a list of what foods you need and scope out the market’s website or event guide to give you an idea of what is offered.

2.) Bring your own bag. Having a bag that can go on your shoulder will help keep your hands free. Or try a backpack!

3.) Get to know your local farmers. Take this opportunity to meet your local farmers and producers in a relaxed setting. Use this time to have a conversation with the people responsible for growing or making your food. Farmers enjoy getting to know you and appreciate your interest in their crops.

4.) Try something new and ask questions. Challenge yourself to try at least one new food item. Not sure how to incorporate that purple potato into a dish your family would like? Ask the individuals selling the foods; they are a wealth of knowledge for various ideas of how to use their food as ingredients in your recipes. Some even have recipes available for you to take home.

5.) Follow the MyPlate method. Most farmers markets offer a wide variety of foods: most are delicious and nutritious, but some are high in calories. When choosing foods, remember the USDA’s MyPlate method which emphasizes making half your plate fruits and vegetables, and the rest of your plate with whole grains and lean protein.

6.) Make a farm-to-table meal. Now, use a medley of what you gathered at the farmers market to prepare your meal.

Don’t forget to bring the kids! A trip to the farmers market can be a perfect way to introduce your family to new foods while learning where our food comes from. Get your child excited about what new foods will be there and ask your child what new things they would like to try.

Find a farmers market in your area. And if you live in the Black Hills there is a website just for you!

Find and enjoy a farmers market this summer and fall!

Sources:  Farmers Markets: Bringing the Farm to Table,  Be a Savvy Farmers Market ShopperSDSU iGrow, & Iowa State University Extension & Outreach