Last week the Boulder County Farmer’s Market opened! Farmer’s markets are a great way to introduce fresh, local, often organic produce into your diet. Since you’re buying directly from the farmer you can ask them about their gluten contamination, but small farms tend to be pretty good about that.
Mass-produced produce is bland and you can become disinterested in it. The tomatoes in my grocery store are there 365 days a year and always taste the same. If you want to eat fresh, local, heirloom produce but you can’t grow it or don’t have the patience, farmer’s markets are a great alternative.
If you’ve never been before, don’t expect an open-air produce section. Farmers roll up in their trucks and set up their stands. Not every farmer will have the same type of produce. If you’re looking for one specific vegetable you may not find it – it may not be in.
Instead, embrace the farmer’s market for its difference from your grocery store. Most farmers love talking about their crop – ask them questions about the veggies! If you can’t find what you’re looking for, try something else that is local and in-season.
Flesh out some ideas of what kind of meals you’d like to cook so you know what to look for. Have a plan for spontaneity, too! One farmer may bring in a huge load of corn or strawberries or squash – something you weren’t planning on. Don’t be afraid to buy in bulk. Even if you find everything you’re looking for don’t forget to see what else is in season.
When you’re planning a trip to the farmer’s market bring a friend! If you’re looking for something specific go early to get the first pick. If you’re looking for deals try going later for end-of-day clear-outs. Bring big reusable bags and lots of change – many farmers only take cash.
Locavore is a great app for iPhones and Androids. It tells you what’s in season locally and it has listings for farmer’s markets and farms with stands. It’s free!
Another great resource is Local Harvest. On their website you can find farmer’s markets, farm stands and CSAs in your area!