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Getting Great Food: Farmers Markets

If you’re interested in local, seasonal food, chances are you’ve been to a farmers market. With nearly 4,800 of them in the U.S., it’s clear people love the direct connection to farmers, the assurance that your dollars go back into your local economy, and the fun of shopping in the open air for fresh, tasty, and seasonal foods.

Here are some ways to get the most out of your trip to the farmers market.

  • Talk to the farmers. Find out about their farming practices, their facilities, and what crops they'll be harvesting next. Most are happy to give you tips on how to store foods and suggest ideas for preparing them, too.
  • Be prepared for different types of your favorite produce. Many farmers like to grow unusual and heirloom crop varieties uniquely suited for your climate. These varieties are typically grown for their superior flavor, rather than their durability for traveling long distances from farm to supermarket.
  • Bring cash. While some farmers markets accept other forms of payment, cash is usually preferred.
  • Bring your own bags. It’s convenient, eco-friendly, and sometimes necessary (not all farmers will provide them).

Keep in mind that many of the farmers at your local farmers markets also sell their products at the food co-op, so you’ll be able to restock any day of the week. Read more about getting great food at food co-ops and through CSAs.