Farmers Market Tips

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We’re deep in the midst of summer, and that means farmers’ markets around Orange County are filled with lots of healthy farm-fresh produce for you to purchase and enjoy! Farmers’ markets are a great place to do your produce shopping because you know exactly where the food came from, the produce is fresh, and the prices are usually lower than what you will find at many grocery stores!

To make your farmers’ market trips even more enjoyable, we here at ACTIVE OC Magazine have supplied a few helpful tips to help make you a smart farmers’ market shopper:
• Arrive early at the farmers’ market. It’s not unusual for vendors to sell out of their more popular items, so be sure to show up at your farmers market early so you don’t miss out on the best selections. Even though vendors do tend to offer discounts towards the end of the farmers’ market so they don’t have to take food back with them, keep in mind that this food may have been sitting out for many hours unrefrigerated and therefore may not be as safe to eat.
• Bring cash with you. Most vendors at farmers’ markets either do not take credit cards, or prefer not to take credit cards due to transaction fees. Therefore, make sure to bring cash for your purchases. Vendors also prefer small bills.
• Try a new fruit or vegetable during each of your visits. Farmers’ markets are a great place to taste test fruits and vegetables that you have never had before. Many vendors at farmers’ markets pass out samples of their food items, and of course want to make a sale. You can also ask a vendor for a sample of their product. In addition, many vendors can give you tips on how to prepare the produce they are selling. Taste testing before making your purchase also prevents you from spending money on something that you might not like.
• Don’t assume that a vendor’s produce is organic. Even if a vendor claims their produce is USDA organic, be sure to look for the USDA Organic label. Some farmers use organic farming methods, but their produce may not be certified organic by the USDA.
• Plan ahead. If you are not going straight home after your farmers’ market visit, be sure to bring some insulated bags with you so your purchases don’t spoil while sitting in the car. Insulated bags are also much sturdier than the plastic bags that many vendors supply. Also keep in mind that some cities have banned, or are considering banning, the use of plastic bags so they may not be available at your farmers market.

Here is a link to local farmers markets in your area. O.C. Farmers Markets

Corinne Kantor, DTR, CLT
The Food Cop (www.thefoodcop.com)
My Nutrition Boot Camp (www.mynutritionbootcamp.com)

photographer: urban_light

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