Hi Relishments readers! I’m on maternity leave, but some awesome blogger friends have volunteered to step in and keep new content coming your way. I may be popping in occasionally, but I really appreciate the opportunity to take some time off with our new addition. Please show my guest authors some love and check out their sites and social media! Today’s post is from Lisa of lisavalinsky.com
One of the top questions friends and family regularly ask me is: How do you find the best farmers’ markets?
I currently have two favorite markets I shop at regularly: the Saturday market in our town, and the Forest Park Farmers’ Market in Springfield, MA, which has about 30 vendors and where I can get almost anything we need. (Including Berkshire Mountain Bakery, which was featured on the Netflix series Cookedand has some seriously delicious bread. Their Bread & Chocolate sourdough loaf is to die for. Really. I can eat the whole thing in two days.)
There are a bunch of factors to finding the best and right farmers’ market for you. Go through the list below, see what’s available in your area, check them out, and hopefully you’ll find some gems too!
I should also mention that as far as farmers’ markets go, we are very lucky. We live in northern Connecticut, which is not only a historically agricultural area with lots of farms nearby, but we also have many markets to choose from. I’m not sure what it’s like in the rest of the country (or the world), but in our region we can truly have our pick of some great markets.
One of the best ways to find farmers’ markets near you is by looking online. While a market may not have its own website, you can do some detective work to find out the dates and times of markets closest to you.
Look to see if your state has an organic farming association in the list provided.
If that doesn’t bring up any results, enter your zip code into the USDA’s local food directory. Take your results and do a Google search of the exact farmers’ markets.
If that doesn’t result in anything, type your town or city, state, and “farmers market” to see what comes up.
For farmers’ markets that have websites, even better! Once you’ve found your local markets, check their sites for a list of vendors, market information, and news and resources.
And if all else fails, try contacting your town hall or Chamber of Commerce to ask about the local farmers’ markets.
During college I found myself at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market nearly every week because I could walk there from my apartment. When Josh and I lived in New York City we regularly attended the two Greenmarkets closest to our place — Tucker Square Greenmarket and 79th Street Greenmarket. And now I like to stick to markets that are within about a 20 minute drive, since I find myself at farmers’ markets multiple times a week.
Decide what is reasonable for your trip to the farmers’ market. 10 minutes? 20? 30? This will depend on whether you take public transportation or bike or drive, and how often you plan to shop at a given market.
Usually the farthest I’ll travel to a farmers’ market is about 30 minutes, unless I hear about a special market that is worth a longer trip (Coventry Farmers’ Market — I’m looking at you!).
When I go to a market I know what I want — lots of veggie and fruit options, dairy, eggs, a bakery, and maple syrup and honey. I’m not into crafts and handmade stuff (unless it’s the holiday season, then maybe). My farmers’ markets need to have items that we eat regularly, and also have some fun speciality or heirloom items that I’ll either buy or just check out to learn about them.
What items do you want to buy at a farmers’ market?
Some possible ideas include:
Plants and flowers
Baked goods and grains
Lisa Valinsky lives in northern Connecticut with her husband and young daughter. She seeks and shares ways to simplify life as a new mom.
On her blog: lisavalinsky.com
On Instagram: @lisavalinksy
On Pinterest: lisavalinksky