8 secrets to shopping at farmers’ markets

Ready to support local farmers by shopping at your farmers’ market? Here’s how to make the most of the trip

8 secrets to shopping at farmers' markets

1. Don’t worry about organic versus non-organic

You are at a farmers’ market, so the moral battle is won. Ask questions: some farmers who do not practice organic agriculture for various reasons still practice sustainable agriculture.

2. Taste, taste, taste

Most stalls want you to try their wares. You are not committed to buy. Go to the market with an open mind.

3. Bring cash (in small bills)

These farmers and beekeepers and artisans aren’t going to take credit or debit cards. They’ll have a cash box, and I encourage you to do your best to fill it.

4. Take your kids

These are the times we reminisce about as adults, even though we didn’t appreciate them in the moment.

5. Try something new

If it looks good but you don’t know what to do with it, ask. That’s what the farmer is there for. Asking about preserving methods is a good idea as well. It is in season, so learn how to preserve that flavour.

6. Bring a cooler…

…and leave it in your car. It will keep those tender greens you came across fresh during the ride home.

7. Bring a cloth shopping bag

(Or five.) Reuse, recycle. You know the drill.

8. Bring your own coffee mug

Most markets have a really great fair-trade coffee stall.

Excerpted from Earth to Table by Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann. Copyright © 2009 by Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann. Photographs Copyright © 2009 by Edward Pond. Excerpted by permission of Random House Canada, a division of Random House of Canada Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.