Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tips for Farmers' Market Shopping

Shop WiselyWant to start shopping at your local farmers market? Here are a few tips from cookbook author and avid market shopper Deborah Madison. Her recently re-released "Local Flavors" (Broadway Books) cookbook, subtitled "Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers' Markets," offers plenty of advice.
  • Take time to browse. "Start by walking around to see what's there before you start to shop," Madison says in the book, "especially if you're new to the market."

  • Ask questions. "If you don't recognize what it is you're looking at, or need a tip on how to use it," she says, "ask the growers."

  • Carry cash. "If possible," she says, "try to show up with small bills." Some farmers' markets are offering new ways to pay though--through debit cards or with food stamps--but cash is always a secure payment method.

  • Give it a try. "If someone offers you a taste of something, take it," says Madison. "A taste could change your mind about a fruit or vegetable."

  • Include the kids. "Take your kids along," she says, "and let them buy a few things from a farmer, too."

  • Enjoy it now. "Unlike at the supermarket," Madison says, "the appearance of a particular fruit or vegetable is often short, and when something is gone, it's gone."

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