5 Tips for Navigating Your Local Farmers Market

karlee farmers market

Karlee here, one of the interns at Team Nutrition Genius – thank you for reading my very first post on TNG, and I hope you find it relevant and helpful!

As you know here at Team Nutrition Genius we fully support eating real food, especially if you can get it locally. Summertime in upstate New York is a splendid time when we actually get to see the sunshine; farmers and their crops are flourishing, which makes it abundant and easy to support local agriculture.

If you live in the Rochester area like Pearl and I, I hope you’ve visited the Rochester Public Market on Union Street. It’s open every Saturday, as well as limited hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays (although personally I’ve only gone on Saturday thus far). You’ve probably heard Pearl give it a shout out on several podcasts and Instagram posts because it’s that amazing! At the market you can find produce, meats, fish, baked goods, cheeses, wines, spices, flowers, honey, and more.

Of course Rochester isn’t the only place with a public market so I urge you if you haven’t already to find one in your area (link at the end of this post for a USDA directory). My post today is going to provide tips on how to enjoy yourself and navigate through a public market. Please feel free to comment anything else that is helpful to you!

Tip #1: Bring Reusable Shopping Bags

If you’ve ever walked around a mall carrying bags for a long period of time you know how easy it is to get those painful and ugly marks right on your inner elbow crevice (I don’t know the actual term if there is one…), and believe me, produce is a lot heavier than clothing. Bringing sturdier reusable bags helps you to carry more items easier. Not to mention reusable bags save plastic, which SAVES THE WORLD. I mean really if you’re still getting plastic bags each time you go shopping, what are you doing?!

Tip #2: Know What You Want

Treating a trip to the farmers market just like a trip to a grocery store makes it easier to know how much you’ll spend and what you’ll come home with. Especially in the summer, farmers markets can be very busy. It can be overwhelming to not only navigate the crowd, but also navigate the options. If you’re a list maker for a grocery store visit, make a list for this outing as well. By all means you should pick up a spontaneous jar of locally sourced 100% pure honey if you see it and want it, but for essentials: make a list and follow it. Like I said, this helps you budget yourself and only buy items you’ll use within the week.

Tip #3: Don’t Go Hungry

Again, treat a trip to your local public market just as you would a trip to a grocery store, and we all know you don’t go to the grocery store hungry! There are places to eat if you’re in a pinch, but it will save you money to eat at home, plus not all of the options are the best for you. For example, at the Rochester Public Market there is a DELICIOUS apple cider doughnut stand, but I know better than to consider a piece of cake with a hole in the center a suitable breakfast. Going to the market after a good breakfast or lunch at home will help you stick to your list, save money, and know exactly what you’re eating.

Tip #4: Pick A Time

I know, this seems obvious… If you’re planning to go somewhere, you should schedule a time. But what I really mean is going to the market is usually best if you go super early or go at the very end. If you’re an early bird, going early is advantageous to avoid crowds and have your pick of the crops. On the flip side, it’s beneficial to go at the very end of the day since farmers don’t want to pack and transport everything back, so they’re more likely to offer deals. Last summer I got two watermelons for $2 at the end of the day, which makes sense because c’mon toting 20 watermelons back to your farm sounds like a pain in the… Well you know. So it’s a win-win for you and the farmers.

Tip #5: Bring a Friend

Bringing a friend with you anywhere usually makes it more fun. I mean what would Nutrition Genius Radio podcasts be if it were only Sassy or only Pearl? They play off of each other, provide different perspectives, and make the entire experience more enjoyable for their listeners (shameless plug right there for you to go listen to NGR if you haven’t already). But really, bringing a friend to the market is a great way to bond, however the main reason I included this tip is for when there is something like a BOGO deal or a large amount of produce for a great price. You need to be realistic about how much you can eat in a week without it going bad. If there’s a deal for three containers of peaches for $5, sure that’s a great deal, but would you eat 15 peaches in a week? Maybe you take home two and your friend takes home one. You split the cost, you split the produce, and you’re not throwing away squishy peaches at the end of the week.

Thanks for reading my first post. TNG intern out like sauerkraut!

Peace and love,

Karlee

 

Link to more information about The Rochester Public Market

Farmers Market Directory to find one near you

Tips for Saving Money at Whole Foods