Even if your morning mantra isn’t “be green, eat local, go organic,” there are lots of benefits to shopping at the local farmers’ market, from the friendly vibe to the sweet deals. Navigating the market can be intimidating, especially for newbies. Here are a few know-before-you-go tips from our friends atGreatist that’ll have you shopping like a pro, and coming home with bags full of goodies for you to cook up tasty, seasonal and healthy meals.
1. Learn the lingo
What does cage-free, organic, natural, and free-range actually mean (and what does it mean to you?). Check out some terminology breakdowns here.
2. Hold the purse/wallet/man-purse
While most fruit and vegetables tend to run a little cheaper than local grocery store prices, meat and fish can be a little more expensive so, if you’re on a budget, plan accordingly.
3. Don’t settle
Avoid the tendency to buy the first thing you see— shop around. A lot of vendors carry similar produce, compare prices, ripeness, etc.
4. Make friends
Most local vendors are regulars at the market. If you’re pleased with the produce, chat up the owners, learn when the best stock arrives, and work towards a friendly discount.
5. Bring these
While bringing a bag from home isn’t necessary, in the spirit of being green, go ahead and dust off that reusable bag and put it to use. Also plan on bringing cash.
6. Ask away
The vendors are truly passionate about their work, so if you have questions, don’t be afraid to ask. (Hereare five essential questions to ask.)
7. Taste test
Never tasted an Asian pear? Most vendors have samples out, but if not, go ahead and ask to taste the fruits and veggies to make sure they’re fresh and tasty.
8. Read up
Know what’s in season (it’ll taste the best and have the best price). For fall, look for these fruits and vegetables and check out this handy guide to the best fall fruits and veggies.
9. Be an early bird
Get to the market early— the best produce sells out quickly!
10. Plan ahead
Here’s a bonus tip from us. Plan out your weekly meals before you head to the market—this will set you up for a week of delicious, organic dinners (and leftovers for lunch!) Some of our favourite farmer’s market fresh meals are this zuchetti pesto dish or some roasted brussell sprouts. Also, it’s the perfect time of year to fuel up on our post-run pumpkin spice smoothie.
Ready to head to the market? Read some more of our favourite tips here.