10 Farmers Market Shopping Tips

Get the best farmers market experience with these tips from the Southern Living Farmers Market Cookbook.

  • 1. Go Early
    Southern Living Farmers Market Cookbook

    1. Go Early

    The best produce is often found right when the market opens. Avoid choosing from picked-over produce by arriving at your local market as early as possible.

  • 2. Go Often
    Southern Living Farmers Market Cookbook

    2. Go Often

    Buy only as much as you will eat within a few days, and store produce (except tomatoes) in the refrigerator or in a cool, dark place. Flavor and nutrients diminish quickly.

  • 3. Bring Cash
    Southern Living Farmers Market Cookbook

    3. Bring Cash

    Most vendors appreciate it if you have small bills for purchasing. And while some larger markets will accept credit cards, most will not accept personal checks.

  • 4. Take Your Kids
    Southern Living Farmers Market Cookbook

    4. Take Your Kids

    There's no better way to introduce your children to new foods than letting them take part. Allow kids to talk to the vendors and pick out some produce.

  • 5. Recycle, Reduce, Reuse
    Southern Living Farmers Market Cookbook

    5. Recycle, Reduce, Reuse

    You're already a steward of the environment by shopping at your local farmers market, so remember to take it one step further and bring your own canvas bags, baskets, or boxes to carry away your purchase for the day.

  • 6. Take Your Time
    Southern Living Farmers Market Cookbook

    6. Take Your Time

    Scope out the entire market before making your selections. Prices and types of produce vary among the different vendors. You'll want to shop just as wisely here as anywhere else.

  • 7. Bright Is Best
    Southern Living Farmers Market Cookbook

    7. Bright Is Best

    Look for blemish-free, brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Any bruised or damaged produce will spoil quickly.

  • 8. Talk to Farmers
    Southern Living Farmers Market Cookbook

    8. Talk to Farmers

    Make connections with the local farmers in your area. You might glean some unique cooking tips or even recipe ideas.

  • 9. Don't Wash Right Away
    Southern Living Farmers Market Cookbook

    9. Don't Wash Right Away

    Wash fresh produce just before cooking or serving–not before storing.

  • 10. Join a CSA
    Southern Living Farmers Market Cookbook

    10. Join a CSA

    If your schedule doesn't allow for a trip to the market, consider joining Community Supported Agriculture. You'll receive regular deliveries of locally grown produce in its prime.

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