I love spending a good morning at the Farmer’s Market. Vancouver Farmers Market has so many different locations and each brings it’s own unique flair. Check out their website for locations in your neighborhood or make an adventure out of it and explore them all!
Not only is it fun to walk through colourful stalls of produce, flowers, and baked goods, it’s a great way to support local farmers and stock up on wholesome ingredients. There always seems to be a new ingredient or product I haven’t tried and I love getting to know the local vendors and businesses that work so hard to help us get fresh, delicious food on our plates! There really is nothing like fresh ingredients to really add that extra touch to a home cooked meal.
If you find the busyness and buzz of the farmer’s market a bit overwhelming, here are some tips to make the most out of your experience and navigate the market like a pro!
1. Perfect your timing.
Arriving early means that you can have first dibs on what you want and avoid the mid-day crowd. Heading out at the end of the day, on the other hand, might give you a chance to snag some deals on leftover produce that the farmer would rather sell than take home.
2. Be prepared.
Most vendors only take cash, so be sure to bring enough! Also, bring a reusable shopping bag or tote so you won’t need to use plastic ones.
3. Browse first.
Before diving into your purchases, do an initial browse-through to compare prices and make a mental checklist of what you plan to buy.
4. Get to know your grower.
Chat with the farmers and ask questions about how they grow their food. They may even have a tip or two on how to prepare certain ingredients. They can also give you a heads-up on what food will be in-season next.
5. Be creative.
Be open to trying an exotic veggie that you’ve never eaten before and experiment in the kitchen. Farmer’s market purchases are a great way get adventurous with foods that are in season. If it weren’t for the Farmer’s market I would have never discovered garlic scapes, mustard greens or watermelon radishes!
6. Check out the food scene.
Farmer’s markets offer up more than just produce. Stop by local vendors selling goodies like honey, freshly baked bread, eggs and cheese. Another favorite discovery of mine was the vegan forest mushroom pâté by local company Pastiche. So good!
7. Make it a family (or friend) affair!
A trip to the farmer’s market is a fun experience as much as it is a productive grocery stop. One of my favorite dates is going to the market, with no specific recipe in mind, seeing what we find and spending the evening coming up with new, fresh creative recipes. Doesn’t hurt to have a glass of sangria with some fresh local berries and nectarines in hand while we’re at it :). Plan a trip to the market with your friends and family as an opportunity to spend time together and dream up dishes to make from all the things you buy.
So grab your favourite tote bag and out the door you go!
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