It's getting to be prime time for farmer's markets, as the big harvesting season is just around the corner! There are a lot of food items that you should choose to buy at these markets rather than at the grocery store, whether because they will be of better quality, nutritional value, or simply in flavor.
The Best Foods to Get at A Farmers Market
You may come across a farm stand that has decided to only sell tomatoes. They have perfected the best way to cultivate this crop, and have embraced the wide array of varieties they can grow. That is much better than the two to three types you can find at the grocery store!
Meat is usually shipped from far away locations, making a poor impact on the environment. Purchasing meat at a farmers market usually means the animals are fed through a more natural diet (meaning more nutrients for you), and less processed since it doesn't need to travel as far.
Not only is honey from a farmer's market usually sourced from local beekeepers (which can help reduce reactions to allergens local to your area), but it usually comes in a wide variety of types and flavors. It may cost a little more, but you will be reassured by its sustainability and freshness.
If you only see orange carrots at the grocery store, you're missing out on a variety of colors and nutrients. Left in the ground longer than conventional ones, carrots at the market have had more time to soak up as much nutrition as possible from the soil as they grow.
A wonderful alternative to chicken eggs that have an even more rich and full taste. Since ducks have a different diet, their eggs contain different nutrients and flavors. These are also more difficult to find in the grocery store, so stock up on them while you can!
Purchasing onions from a local farmer means reduced risk of exposure to pesticides. Since onions are normally shipped from as far as South America, you'll also be selecting a more sustainable vegetable.
Fruits with delicate skins such as berries, cherries, peaches, apples, and plums are very susceptible to absorbing harmful pesticides. Purchasing these fruits from the farmer's market will ensure a sweeter and fresher flavor, and more diversity in your choices. Did you know that there is one variety of apple better for baking in pies, and another that's better for eating fresh? Talk to the stand attendant about suggestions of new varieties to try.
How often do you see oyster, morel, or shiitake mushrooms in the grocery store? What about truffles? The mushrooms and other fungi available at the market will excite even the most burgeoning chef.
When it comes to buying products at the farmer's market, be a little adventurous. Try some items you haven't cooked with before, and talk to the farmer or stand attendant if you have questions. They will be excited to share all the possible ways for you to enjoy what they're selling, and your meals (and diet) will benefit remarkably!
[Credit: Morris, Meagan. 15 Things You Should Only Buy at the Farmers Market. Eat This, Not That.]