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 comes from Lisa of lisavalinsky.com
Ah, the farmers’ market. A place with the freshest produce, a place that brings people together, a place of food inspiration.
If you know me, you know I have a thing for farms and food and farmers’ markets.
When we lived in New York City, I had the amazing experience of running farmers’ markets in Manhattan. I worked for Greenmarket, the largest urban farmers’ market network in the United States, and my love of locally grown foods grew even more. It was a bit of peace in the big city, and each day of work I loved chatting with the vendors, perusing the items brought to market, and seeing the behind the scenes of how a market comes together.
That behind the scenes stuff was key. I learned what aggravated farmers and their staff. I learned what made customers happy. And I learned some random tips just by being at those markets so many hours each week.
(To see what my day was like as a market manager, check out the Day in the Life post that I wrote for Greenmarket a few years back.)
Before making your way to the farmers’ market, be sure to get some cash. Most farms only accept cash for payment, so it’s best to have cash on hand. Want to be extra polite? Bring plenty of small bills too, so the farmers or staff don’t have to worry about making change or breaking large bills.
The early bird really does catch the worm. It’s best to get arrive as soon as the market opens, if you can. The food is the freshest (some of it may have even been harvested that morning), the crowds are generally lower, and you’ll have the best pick of items for the day.
Especially if you’re trying to get an item with a short growing window, like fiddlehead ferns, ramps, or berries, you’ll want to get to the market right away to catch those fun finds. Not to mention, if you’re like me and enjoy buying dairy at the market, even if it’s on ice I feel better buying it sooner than later.
BROWSE THE MARKET FIRST
Really take it all in. Check to see what different producers are offering that day, and enjoy each display. Sometimes a gem of food can be found among the vendors – locally grown ginger, a blend of hand dried herbal tea, a delicious baked good – so if you have time to browse, soak it in.
VISIT THE INFORMATION TENT
When I was a farmers’ market manager, a big part of my job was running the information tent. I cooked some kind of tasty dish each week, and I was available to talk to customers and answer questions.
I loved becoming an expert of my markets, and knowing all about the farms and their offerings.
Stop by your market manager’s booth to say hello, ask questions, and get all kinds of information.
Lisa Valinsky lives in northern Connecticut with her husband and young daughter. She seeks and shares ways to simplify life as a new mom.