Grab your tote bag–it’s farmers market time! The best markets in every state are super-easy to find and fall in love with. But you can make ’em even better if you know exactly when to go. While there’s no “wrong” time to hit the farmers market, there’s definitely an optimal time, and that’s the last hour it’s open. Here’s why:
You get to chat with farmers
One of the biggest thrills of hitting the farmers market is getting to rub elbows with the actual farmers. At the end of the day, as the market winds down, the vendors have more time to chat. And that gives you an opportunity to learn about where your food is coming from.
“The best part about interacting with the community through farmers markets is making connections with customers who really appreciate what you do,” says Marissa Lundin, who spent three summers working at Centgraf Farms in Wisconsin. Farmers markets are all about connecting you with local, sustainably grown food and the people who grow it.
Go ahead and buy anything the farmer recommends–here are 50 recipes to make the most of your summer produce.
You find the best deals
Farmers markets are already a great spot to find reasonably-priced local produce. You’re not technically supposed to negotiate at farmers markets—here’s why. But at the end of the day, the farmers/vendors are looking to clear out their stalls, and may be willing to bring their prices down.
You might go home with a new recipe
Farmers often have recommendations for preparing their products, and late in the day, when they may be relaxed and have time to chat, you might go home with the perfect recipe for whatever you’re buying.
Seriously, this happened to me late in the day at a farmer’s market near Hanover, New Hampshire. I was buying some lovely green beans from the farmer who grew them, and I happened to mention that I was hoping to make a Tuna Nicoise salad but hadn’t homed in on a recipe I liked. Next thing I knew, she was writing out her recipe on a scrap of paper!
While I’m not willing to give away that secret recipe just yet, I’m happy to share this gorgeous recipe for Veggie Nicoise Salad. And to sweeten the deal, here are 51 hearty recipes that are farmer-approved.