Make the most of your local Farmer’s Market

Farmers-Market

Here are Chef James Laird’s tips for making the most of your visit to your local farmer’s market:

Plan Ahead

The summer is the most wonderful time to be at your local farmer’s market. Everything is beautifully colored and in abundance. To bring some of the glory of summer to your winter table, consider buying in bulk to make preserves, sauces, and pickles that will last through the colder months. Although it’s not appropriate to haggle at a farmer’s market, ask for a case discount when buying in bulk.

Select the Best

Look for truly local food. Although the farmers at the market grow a majority of their food, peaches in April should raise an eyebrow. Ask the farmer what he doesn’t grow.

Buy the rainbow. Yellow corn, purple potatoes, red onions, green squash, heirloom tomatoes, incorporating many colors will ensure that your dish is well balanced. Summer is when the market is at its most colorful and this will make your plate look bountiful. After all, we eat with our eyes first.

Meat and fish. There’s nothing better than grass fed meats or locally caught fish and seafood. The extra cost is worth the quality.

At Home

When you get home from your trip, wash everything before you put it away, blanch beans and shuck corn into plastic bags and put them in the freezer for quick access. The extra work of preparation will make putting healthy meals on your family’s table faster and easier during the rest of the week.

The food at farmer’s markets is much fresher than at your local grocery store so everything will last at least a week, just enough time to think about your next visit to your local farmer’s market.