Visiting your local farmers market is not only highly recommended for anyone on a weight loss program or wishing to eat healthier, but a fun activity for the whole family. Those of you who have never been to one, once you try it, will want to come back again and again.
Or, maybe it has been a very long time, like a year or more, since you last experienced the pleasure of strolling leisurely in the open air, marveling at the enormous variety of vividly colored fruits and vegetables. But knowing that whatever you picked out would be delicious, ultimately deciding was a lot harder than you thought it would be.
If you’ve been finding yourself week after week in the same old rut of making hurried trips to the supermarket, settling for overpriced, so-so produce, and waiting on long lines at the check-out register, you’re overdue for an eye-opening change. And summer, when the weather most days is fine, is the ideal time of year for venturing a little farther afield. A day at the beach is one great idea. An excursion to your local farmers market is another.
Of course, like any other activity that may be new or fairly new for you, your trip to the farmers market will be even more enjoyable with a little advance planning. With that in mind, here are five suggestions to help you get the most out of your farmers market experience.
5 Useful Tips and Tricks to Take to Market.
1. Schedule your trip when you are not pressed for time.
At farmers markets, not only is the selection huge, but there are lots of different vendors competing for your attention. The first thing you see may not be the best choice, so be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to look around and compare what different vendors have to offer.
Farmers and food artisans tend to be a friendly bunch, so take advantage of this opportunity to get to know the people selling the food at the farmers market. They will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Also, if you’re lucky, on the day of your visit, the market might be holding a special event like a cooking demo or book signing, which would be a shame to miss because you don’t have the time.
2. Bring your own shopping bags.
Don’t assume that the vendors have shopping bags, so be prepared and bring your own. If you plan on buying any meat, it needs to be bagged separately.
3. Beware of sensory overload.
As tempted as you may be to sample everything in sight, keep in mind, first of all, that not everything at the farmers market is healthy and low calorie. So steer clear of the fattening stuff like doughnuts, candy, cookies, and ice cream, and focus on the fresh fruits and vegetables that you came to buy. Secondly, all things in moderation is the key to success in any sensible weight loss program.
4. Keep in mind that produce is perishable, and buy accordingly.
Buy only what you and your family can expect to eat in the next couple of days. Produce is perishable, so don’t let the fact that it looks great at the market fool you. It won’t look and taste great forever. Stocking up on a larger quantity than you need or want for very short term use is a mistake. You can always return to the market another day.
5. Take advantage of the tremendous variety and try something different.
Be adventurous. Don’t be afraid to try a fruit or vegetable variety that you have never seen before. Orange carrots are versatile, delicious, and super nutritious, but so are purple carrots. They are not only what your ancestors ate long before orange carrots existed; they are loaded with anthocyanins. So be sure to get some, but don’t stop there. Pick up a couple of curvy cucumbers, zucchini flowers, Asian pears, and heirloom tomatoes and melons, too.