Martha Rardin, MSM, RDN, LD, FAND –
Do you love going to the Farmer’s Market but feel a bit intimidated once you get there? There are so many good-looking vegetables to choose from, at times it is easy to become overwhelmed and end up walking away empty handed or with more produce than you can handle. Here are several tips to make your next trip to the market enjoyable and productive.
- Get To Know Your Vendors. This can come in handy in your favor. The farmer may put something special aside for you before your next trip.
- Take Your Own Shopping Bags. Preferably reusable ones.
- Take Your Kids. They will be more open to trying new vegetables if you involve them in the shopping and preparation process. Encourage the kids to pick out one item they can help prepare and serve. This is a great way to get them interested in trying new foods.
- Check Out Everything First. Do a quick walk through to scope out the offerings of the week.
- Ask Questions. Just because a vendor is at a Farmer’s Market does not mean they actually grew the produce. If a vendor has an unusual number of different vegetables, they may be purchasing them from other sources.
- Talk to Farmers. Ask them about their produce, how they grow it, and where their produce is grown. Ask them what vegetables they recommend. Ask them how to cook it, especially if you have never seen it before. Farmers can introduce you to a wide variety of unusual recipes. Remember the markets will change as the growing season progresses. Early in the season, you will be able to purchase leafy greens but not corn or tomatoes. Later in the season our farmers will have more to offer to you.
- Take Time to Visit. If you can, go early or go late. Early in the day is preferable to some, as you will find the widest selection of produce. However, some people prefer to go at the end of the day because they feel they can get a great buy from farmers who do not want to return home with their products. You will avoid crowds if you stay away from the peak middle hours.
- Be Spontaneous (or go ahead and make a shopping list). If you find a great looking vegetable, go ahead, and buy it, then build the rest of your meal around it. Or, if you are familiar with your local harvest schedule, you can make a menu and shopping list to include the latest produce.
- Only Buy What You Can Eat. Do not overbuy and waste beautiful produce.
- Go Despite the Weather. Vendors will still be there!
- Be Nice and Be Patient. Everyone wants lovely produce, please remember there will be plenty to choose from.
- Be Wary. Not all items at the Farmers Markets are healthy or needed for your family. Items such desserts, homemade breads, cookies are certainly appealing but may not fit into your budget and your nutritional goals for you and your family.
Most of all, enjoy the great Farmers Markets we have in our county. Hendricks County is blessed to have so many wonderful markets and vendors.
Farmer’s Market Days & Hours
- Plainfield Farmer’s Market – Every Wednesday, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. through Sep. 15
- Avon Farmer’s Market – Every Tuesday, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. through Sep. 12
- Danville Farmer’s Market – Every Saturday, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. through Sep. 4