What to Buy (and What to Avoid) at the Farmers’ Market
May 14, 2019
Now that it’s finally farmers’ market season again, you might be breaking out those reusable bags and hitting the closest market this Saturday. But before you do, you should know which foods are worth purchasing at the market, and which you can grab at the grocery store.
In-season fruits and veggies. Nothing tastes better than a strawberry freshly plucked from a nearby field or peaches just pulled from the tree. So when you see this produce that you know is in-season in your area, don’t hesitate to pounce.
Eggs. Anyone who is exceptionally conscious about where their food comes from knows that terms like “cage-free” and “free-range” don’t always have a single, clear-cut definition. The perk of buying eggs at the market is that you can speak to the farmer who raised the chickens and ensure they’ve been treated humanely. Plus, they’re extra-fresh!
Locally raised meat. Meats purchased in the grocery store are sometimes pumped full of antibiotics and hormones, but you won’t have to worry about that with local producers. They’ll be able to tell you exactly what is (or isn’t) in their beef or poultry and, again, how their animals have been treated.
Out-of-season produce. If you spot fruits or veggies at the market that aren’t currently in-season in your region, that’s a great indication that they’ve been shipped in from somewhere else—which makes them no different than the stuff you’d grab at the grocery store. So save the extra dollars and do your normal supermarket shopping for these items.
Honey and baked goods (kind of). Local honey and baked goods will almost always taste better than their store-bought counterparts, but the farmers’ market might not be the best place to score them. Vendors often mark up the prices on their goods when they come to markets to help cover the cost of renting a booth. It’s better to go directly to the source (i.e., a local stand or store) to nab these products.
Picture-perfect fruits and veggies. If you naturally gravitate toward the most beautiful produce, you’re not alone. Most people do and, in fact, vendors often display these fruits and veggies in places of prominence. However, the less beautiful produce tastes just as good and often ends up in the trash due solely to its looks. Help fight food waste and grab the uglier produce—you might even be able to negotiate a deal with the farmer.