Yesterday I shared a few websites to help you virtually prepare for this season’s farmer’s markets. Once you’ve done your research into where you can find some great locally grown food, you are ready to go. Of course, there are a few extra things you might want to bring with you to help maximize your time at your local farmer’s market.
--Grocery Bags—Sure, the farmers selling their produce and goods will most likely have bags for you to use, but bringing your own just makes things easier and greener.
--Cooler—This item completely depends on your plans for the rest of the day, but if I am going out to run a couple errands and don’t want to have to pass up some locally made cheese or other perishable, a small cooler with an ice pack can give me the ability to buy things and keep them fresh.
--Flexible Attitude—While you may have done your research and figured out what is in season, sometimes the one item you are looking for at the market may be sold out, or you may discover something new that you have never cooked. Trying to go through a farmer’s market with efficiency and exactness in mind sometimes sets the stage for frustration. But coming to market with flexible attitude will help you capture the fun of the market.
--An Open Ear—Along with a flexible attitude, asking questions and listening to the local vendors can yield a wealth of new food experiences. Chances are you will encounter some sort of fruit or vegetable that you may not recognize, or an heirloom variety of some sort of produce that may need explaining. If you aren’t sure what you are seeing, ask! Most farmers love to share their knowledge of their wares and how to prepare them.
--A Ready Appetite—Perhaps my older son’s favorite part of the experience, the samples! Many vendors offer samples of their produce or other goods. We always try to get to our local farmer’s market before the cheese samples run out.
--Cash—Money may seem like a “duh” item to list, but in today’s age of electronic transactions, many of us do not readily carry cash. Although some markets do accept credit and debit, a proper amount of good old fashioned paper money is a good idea.
So, are you ready to go to market? The weekend starts soon, so head on out and let me know what you find!