As the meal manager for your home, are you wanting to incorporate more fresh food into your family’s diet? Fresh fruits and veggies and more from your local farmers market might be just about as fresh as it gets.
Each farmers market is filled with its own unique collection of individual farming families and crafters that live in and around the local area and come together to provide a wide selection.
While you breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the company of friends and neighbors, it’s also the perfect opportunity to strategically purchase some of what’s in season to incorporate into your meal plan for the upcoming week.
Quite A Variety
The main farmers’ market that I visit nearly every weekend offers quite a variety. I know I can get home-oriented items including locally made outdoor furniture, quilts, clocks, pottery, and plants; beauty items like homemade soaps and handmade jewelry; and food like gourmet desserts and bread, barbeque sauce, olive oil, and coffee, and that’s just a snapshot.
But the big draws for me are the freshly harvested fruits and vegetables, as well as raw honey and grass/bug-fed meats from local families. Produce is harvested when it’s actually ready and full of flavor.
I know what’s generally available to me in my area grocery stores, and I like that I can supplement that selection with farmers market options. Actually, I might be supplementing my farmers market purchases with grocery store fruits and vegetables. Hmmm.
Heading to the Market
It’s generally warm and sunny where I live, so after a tasty breakfast I fill up a water bottle and head to the market. I seem to acquire plastic bags that have babies overnight, meaning more work for me to get rid of, so I prefer bringing some of my eclectic collection of canvas bags to carry. I also my box on wheels.
After getting in a little
sweating detoxing, I head home and it doesn’t take long before someone is cutting into a cantaloupe or real vine-ripened tomato or dropping a roast with some onions and potatoes into a slow cooker for later.
Getting to Know Your Area Sellers
My preferred farmers market takes roughly half of a block. I can’t even guess how many booths and businesses are regularly selling their wares.
In the midst of all that collection of businesses, I have my favorites. Over the years, I’ve tried to politely learn about how each grows or raises the food they sell. I also just tend to feel more comfortable purchasing from a resource that I actually know and trust.
Friendships have developed over the years with both sellers, and my daughter even enjoys a nice visit in Japanese with one seller/friend when she joins me.
Meal Planning Strategy
Depending upon your schedule, maybe the weekend is when you consider what you and your family will be eating and either starting or firming up the plan for the upcoming week. I know I usually have a rough idea on upcoming meals before I head to the farmers market
After my farmers market run, as well as the end of week or weekend grocery store run, I try to more firmly meal plan for the upcoming week.
We usually start using some of what I buy immediately but spreading most across meals for the next 7 days. As an example, the eggs I purchased today can be a quiche tonight, and onion and red pepper might get sautéed for Tuesday night carne guisada, and one of the sweet potatoes and some kale can be part of a breakfast hash to prepare for Wednesday morning, and that’s just a start.
If you’re anything like me, shopping can be dangerous. There’s so much available, and, of course, it all looks great, so before you head to the car, do an inventory. Do you need 4 shoulder roasts, or are you good with just 2. You’ve got salsa ingredients, but your mom is coming to visit this week, and she likes spice. Maybe you better double up.
Maybe this Farmers Market Checklist will help. Cut them up and then before leaving home for the market, jot down what you want to get.
Farmers Market Near You
While my closest market opens weekly and year-round on Saturdays, you might find the markets in your area to be different. To find out about the schedules and locations of markets and other resources near you, check out www.localharvest.org.
I wonder what you might discover at the farmers market near you. With such a variety of resources and climates, who knows what your neighbors might be growing or making for a market near you. Whatever the case, I imagine you just might find some fresh and delicious additions to your family meals.
I’m including some affiliate links to items I commonly use on my farmers market trips. These are just for your convenience and, because they are affiliate links, if you make a purchase, I can earn a small commission while your price doesn’t change at all.
My usual farmers market helps include:
If you decide to check out your local farmers market, here’s the Farmers Market Checklist link again, and be sure to leave a comment about a market favorite you found.