I would love to show you a picture of the delicious cherry tomatoes that I picked up Saturday at the Union Square farmer’s market in New York City with my kids. But we ate them all up before I had a chance to snap a photo. And I would love to show you a picture of the delicious concord grapes and the handful of Macintosh apples that we also bought. But no such luck, we ate those up too. They were fresh, local and delicious. We couldn’t resist.
Going to a farmer’s market is a perfect way to spend a Saturday or Sunday morning with your kids, introducing them to fresh fruits and vegetables, planning family meals, and learning about local farming.
Here are some tips on preparing for your visit to the local farmer’s market:
- Check here to find a market in your neighborhood.
- Remember to bring reusable bags for your produce and bring cash, as most farmers don’t accept credit cards.
- Talk to the farmers and ask lots of questions. Where is your farm? Are you certified organic? How can I cook this vegetable? I found that the farmers from Hawthorne Valley Farm were extremely open to talking to me and answering all my questions. They have a Learning Center offering visits to the farm, cooking classes and farming skills courses. Might have to plan a trip for the future.
- Walk around the entire market to see all the offerings before you decide what to buy. We bought some cider donuts at the first stand we saw and then were disappointed when we saw even more tasty looking donuts a few stands later.
- Even if you have a plan for what to you want to buy, be open to what looks delicious. I wanted to buy a pumpkin to make some pumpkin muffins, but was surprised by all the fresh kale. The muffins will have to wait. Kale chips here we come.
- Get there as early as possible. The early bird gets the worm. Some of the best stuff gets snapped up right when the market opens.
- Lastly, there have been some reports of questionable farmer’s market vendors reselling supermarket produce as local grown produce. So don’t forget to ask questions and keep in mind what is in season in your area. Buying a “local” strawberry in January in the Northeast is highly unlikely.
Francesca Olivieri is co-founder of sage baby, an online eco-friendly baby store offering everything from organic clothes and skin care to furniture. She also runs a green consulting business; blogs for The Family Groove and Scenic Hudson; and contributes to Daily Candy Kids, YogaCity, Citiscoop, and NRDC’s Simple Steps. Please visit her website at FrancescaOlivieri.com.