Monday, April 14, 2008

Consumer Tips for Shopping at the Market

Higginsville Market 2007This just came in from my Google Alerts and thought since the market season is underway I would post this great article from Well Fed Network. Our valued market consumers will appreciate this post.

Getting the Most Out of Your Farmer’s Market
Spring weather may finally, finally be here, and that means here in the Northeast, ’tis the season for Farmers Markets, and I, for one, cannot wait. In the “green” issue of Domino magazine (March 2008), Cynthia Kling gave her top tips for getting the most out of visits to your local farmer’s market:

Arrive early - before everything’s been picked over - if you want the choicest goods.

Walk the place before purchasing. The selection changes each week, depending on what’s in season, and you need to see who has the best stuff. If the early birds are buying red-leaf lettuce at one stand and bell peppers at another, follow them. They know what they’re doing.

Ask questions. Everybody around you cares about food in a big way, and is happy to talk about how things are grown and how to cook them. Don’t ignore other shoppers. Local chefs are a great source of new, interesting recipes.

Only shop where you can pick out your own stuff. Generally, the best vegetables are heavier than they look and firm - without any mushy spots - two things you can’t know until you touch them. Everyone understands the touching/smelling rule and if you’re at a booth where it is discouraged, be suspicious.

Bring plenty of bills. Farmers markets are cash operations, so small denominations are best. Don’t expect the cheese monger to take a credit card or break your $100 bill. Same with bags. They’ll be available, but bring your own to show eco-support.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have to question the rule: "Only shop where you can pick out your own stuff." Many customers don't want produce handled by a lot of other people, plus much produce sold at markets is fragile. Squeezing a peach can seriously affect quality.

At our market, the customer can select which box of produce to buy, but handling is discouraged. If the customer gets a bad item, it is cheerly replaced. It is not long bedore a customer settles on a favorite grower. They know they'll get a quality product, without having to paw through the produce.