Hitting the Farmers Market? Leave This One Item at Home

You'll have more fun and the vendors will love you with this one simple trick!

From your own reusable bags (by the way, are you washing yours enough?) to sunscreen and cash, there are many things to remember for the perfect trip to the farmers market. But to make the most out of the experience, there’s one thing you should leave behind that will improve your experience and expand your horizons.

What to skip

The one thing you should leave behind before heading to your local market: your list!

Remember that a fresh market is different than a supermarket. Inventory varies each week meaning you can’t rely on grabbing raspberries or tomatoes when they’re not ready (no matter how much you want them)! Instead, these markets supply only what is fresh, ripe and in season at that very moment. This means you’ll be getting your fruits, vegetables, eggs and more at the peak of their flavor and vibrancy. But, it also means that you can’t cross off even ingredient in your recipe while shopping a typical market. But that’s OK!

Try something new

Without a fixed list, you’ll have to rely on perusing the market and talking with the vendors. At the best markets from coast to coast, you can rely on the farmers and producers to give you expert opinions on their products. If you’re unsure where to start in striking up a conversation, ask the vendor to point out their favorite product, ask how new-to-you produce can be prepared or, if you’re seriously interested, ask if you could try a sample. Most vendors would be happy to indulge your interest and to share their work with you. These sorts of conversations and open-minded browsing habits can lead to some pretty tasty and very seasonal creations. Just check out our favorite ways to use farmers market finds.

Don’t forget a budget

Once you’ve opened your mind to all the options at your local market, it can be tempting to buy everything in sight. While you might have skipped a list, it’s important to still set aside a budget before you hit the market. It’s a good idea to know how much you’re willing to spend overall on your weekly groceries and how much you’re OK with spending on new or market-fresh options. This way, when you taste the best wild honey, you can tell if you have room in your budget for the biggest jar (psst… find out why you’ll want to skip out on supermarket honey for good)

Now that you have this simple trick to the most enjoyable visit to the farmers market, use our list to find the best one in your state!

Put your finds to good use in these recipes.
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Mandy Naglich
Mandy is a food and beverage writer with bylines at WNYC, Munchies, Mic and October. She's a Certified Cicerone and award-winning homebrewer living, writing and cooking in New York City.