Farmers’ market extremists will certainly inform you to never enter a fruit and vegetables aisle once again, while grocery loyalists will dismiss markets as pricey and troublesome indulgences. So who’s right?
It ends up: both. It simply depends on what it is you’re purchasing.
Best Things to Buy at the Farmers’ Market
These are the fruits and veggies (and other things), you certainly need to get fresh from your local Farmers’ Market.
Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries tend to be expensive at the typical grocery store, in part due to the countless miles they’ve traveled to get to the store. Fresh berries at your local farmers’ market will be in much better condition (perishable berries don’t have the tendency to do well in transportation), will certainly be less costly, and will most likely have fewer pesticides and fungicides than imported or industrial ranges. Ask your grower whether the berries are pesticide-free – I tend to trust a farmer who can look me in the eye and vouch for his or her berries.
Most notably, regional berries, selected at the height of ripeness, are just sweeter and more delicious. Typically you can find regional varieties of berries that are more delicious, however more disposable, so you’ll never ever find them in a grocery store. Or you could discover the unusual flavor of wild berries, foraged from the surrounding countryside.
Like tomatoes, most stone fruit (peaches, nectarines, plums) will ripen but not sweeten on your counter. That implies that getting them when they are chosen ripe is vital to getting the complete seasonal taste. In addition, stone fruit has the tendency to get sprayed with a lot of pesticides. Ask your grower exactly what their pesticide policy is and whether your fruit has been sprayed.
Don’t you just hate buying a bunch of rock-hard avocados at the grocery store, just to learn that they’ve gone bad by the time they’ve softened? Much of this is due to commercially-grown avocados being picked far too early (prior to the level of oils in the fruit have increased to the point where they are able to ripen) and afterwards being transferred in trucks where they are quickly bruised. Worse, store fridges occasionally freeze fresh produce, triggering it to go bad faster.
By contrast, purchasing avocados from a local farmer ensures that they have actually been picked recently. In my experience, avocados from my farmers’ market last far longer, don’t turn brown inside, and are much more buttery and rich than supermarket avocados. I likewise have my go-to ‘avocado guy,’ who helps me choose the best ripeness of avocados depending on when I want to eat them. And have you ever tried a Reed avocado? These big, super-creamy avocados are rarely readily available in grocery stores, but they are my absolute favorite.
Rare or Unusual Vegetables
The farmers’ market is the best place to try a brand-new fruit or vegetable that isn’t really generally found in grocery stores. Have you ever attempted the delicate fractal buds of a romanesco broccoli? How about those unfamiliar Eastern eco-friendlies offered by the local Japanese household farm? Or have you ever wondered exactly what a Buddha’s hand citron tastes like? The grower is a great resource for asking the best ways to cook and eat these intriguing new veggies.
This could look like an odd thing to buy at a mostly food-oriented market, however pesticide-free cut flowers are an excellent thing to pick up on your shopping trip. Traditional flowers are normally grown with a heavy load of pesticides, which takes a toll on the employees included. In addition, delivering fresh flowers isn’t really excellent for the environment. Buying seasonal, regional, pesticide-free flowers is a terrific means to obtain some natural appeal into your house without harming the world or people.
So-called ‘cage free’ eggs at grocery stores are normally not well-regulated. Cage-free might simply indicate that the chickens have a door open for a few hours a day. By contrast, at a farmers’ market, you can ask the farmer straight about how the chickens are raised and what they are fed. Lots of local chicken farmers boast of their ‘happy chickens’ that live a humane life from birth to death, which eat a more natural diet plan consisting of foraging for yard and bugs.
Worst Things to Buy at a Farmer’s Market
Now that you have actually stuffed your grocery totes with the good things above, show up your nose at this things, which isn’t really so fantastic.
The later on in the day you come, the less fresh the veggies will be. This is specifically real of farmers’ markets that bring in growers from outside the immediately area. Be discerning – just because it’s at the farmers’ market does not suggest it’s perfect. In addition, certain vegetables tend to do worse in the heat and sun – lettuce for instance.
It’s best if you can taste the fruit before you buy, so you can make sure you get produce at the peak of ripeness. The majority of growers will certainly have samples or will willingly cut you a slice. Make the most of your cash and buy just the best, in-season fruit.
Unfortunately, the crowds at farmers’ markets tend to bring in food suppliers, many which do not exactly serve health food. Avoid the overpriced hotdogs, funnel cakes, and hamburgers. If you’re truly hungry and require something right away, I prefer to head for the mom-and-pop tamale stands, which provide (normally) homemade steamed tamales and fresh salsas, instead of the deep-fried scrap.
Some bigger farmers’ markets also tend to attract non-food booths that sell gifts and knick-knacks. Be careful not to be suckered into an impulse buy of something that you don’t need (I’m thinking pot holders, jewelry, clothes, etc). Of course, a regional craft item can be a fun souvenir if you’re taking a trip, or a thoughtful gift for out-of-town close friends, however in general avoid anything you didn’t specifically pertain to purchase.
What’s your favorite purchase at your regional farmers’ market? Please share in remarks!