Going to Westchester County’s farmers’ markets has a number of benefits. Aside from getting fresh seasonal produce, you also get to meet new people and make connections with local farmers, artisans and more. To make the most out of your trip to this week’s Sunday morning market, here are a few tips to remember.
1. Do your research. Farmers’ markets are loaded with the freshest batch of seasonal fruit, vegetable, and other produce. If you really want to be in the know of what’s in season and what isn’t, research ahead of time. This is especially important if you’re planning on whipping up a dish that requires seasonal ingredients.
2. Stop by the information tent. Every farmer’s market has a market tent where you can ask for specific information, like the schedule of special vendors! By having this useful bit of information, you can head to the market while they are there and purchase the goods you’ve been looking for.
3. Do a reconnaissance tour. Fresh rhubarb? Honey? Before you purchase, it’s best to explore the market first. Who knows, there might be another vendor selling the same quality honey or rhubarb for a better price, saving yourself some money.
4. Bring cash. Farmers’ markets don’t often accept credit cards, and there is no guarantee you’ll find an ATM nearby. Come prepared and bring cash, particularly small bills.
5. Bring your own bags.Reusable bags are popular nowadays, so why not bring one? If you’re going to be in the market for a while and if you’re planning to buy meat and dairy, it’s also wise to bring a cooler bag with you.
6. Get to know the vendors, especially the ones you keep coming back to. These farmers, once you’ve gotten to know them, may give you special items or prices. They might also become your friends for life, giving you tips on how to make perfect eggplant Parmesan.
7. Don’t haggle. A farmer’s market is not a flea market, and all the food and produce being sold are the product of hard labor. Besides, plenty of markets do collections to deliver to food pantries, while some sustainable farms feed the leftovers to the animals.
8. Be adventurous.A farmer’s market is a great place to introduce yourself to an ingredient you’re not familiar with. Just ask the vendor for tips on how to prepare a certain item.
9. Be present. Log off your social media accounts, or turn off your phone. Pay attention to the sights, sounds, and smells of a farmer’s market. It’s an experience that can be memorable even if you’re not looking for anything in particular.
10. Converse with other shoppers. Farmers aren’t the only people you should befriend in farmers’ markets. Talk to other shoppers, as well! Exchange tips and recipes. Frequent shoppers of farmers’ markets include amateur and professional cooks, so you might get expert advice from industry people.
11. Stay connected. Some farmers’ markets are active on social media, so do take time to follow your favorite market. It’s one way to keep up to date with their offerings and special events.
Are you a newbie to the world of farmers’ markets? Check out this blog for a list of must-visit markets in Westchester County