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Farmer's Market
Photo: Natalia Bratslavsky
When I was growing up, we had fresh food on the table all summer long. My mom kept colorful fruit for us to munch on and included a lot of vegetables in her cooking. She watched for the latest sales and with our help, grew a big garden full of tomatoes, lettuce, potatoes, peas, and cucumbers. 

When I got married, and moved to a new town,I found myself missing the family garden. The grocery store produce wasn't quite the same and tended to be expensive. It frustrated me that I was finding it hard to maintain a healthy diet. It was at a friend’s suggestion that I found the answer to my problem—the local farmer’s market!

I’d never been to a farmer’s market and I didn’t know what to expect. My husband and I got up early one morning and drove down to the square, where we found a number of booths set up. I hesitantly perused the products offered, surprised by the friendly atmosphere. A little boy helped his daddy put cherries into bags for the customers and a young girl rubbed the sleep from her eyes as she gave us our change. I picked up zucchini, beets, fresh herbs, and apricots, pleased at the prices and very pleased at the quality!

Since then, I’ve made the farmer’s market a regular part of my shopping. It’s provided me with a greater variety of fresh produce and the food is far more flavorful. It’s a fun part of my shopping trip. I never know exactly what to expect and enjoy discovering what is available each week. If you would like to check out the farmer’s market in your area, here are a few tips from my experience.

Shopping Tips

  • Arrive early. The best produce, especially the berries, tends to sell quickly, so get ahead of the crowds.
  • On the other hand, arrive late. If you aren’t interested in something that sells quickly, coming near the end may get you better deals as the sellers lower their prices.
  • Try new things! I bought some fresh basil on a whim and discovered that basil pesto is one of my favorite foods. I had never tried yellow zucchini before, but I found that it made a yummy, steamed vegetable.
  • Buy a variety. I made the mistake of buying too much of one item and we soon grew tired of that particular fruit. After that, I picked up a variety of fruits and we enjoyed having an assortment to choose from.
  • Don’t drive too far. The first farmer’s market we visited was a 25 minute drive away. I realized that although the prices were cheaper there, the local market just down the road was worth the gas savings, even if their prices were a little more.
  • Enjoy! Fresh fruit and veggies can be a delicious part of your summer and your local farmer’s market can give you  fresh, local options and the plus of being a fun thing to do. 
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By Danae Schilt. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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