One of the perks of living in Mar Vista, is our beautiful Sunday farmer's market which my husband Josh and I love to walk or bike to as often as we can. From hoards of fresh produce to homemade nut butters, raw honey, speciality salts and some damn good salsa, you could drop some serious coin here-- I usually try to bring a certain amount of cash I'm willing to spend and purposely leave my credit card at home so I'm not tempted to bring back the entire market. In addition to bringing a set amount of cash with you, I have a few tips to help you prep for your next trip...or maybe, if I inspired you, your first...
1. Find out which Farmer's Market is in closest to you. I would suggest using an app or website like http://www.localfarmmarkets.org/ which can pull up all of the markets in your area by inputting your zip code.
2. If the weather is nice, make a day of it and get in some light exercise by walking, biking or skateboarding. The fresh air will feel amazing and the whole experience will feel extra rewarding!
3. Before heading out the door, Pin or bookmark a few recipes that you want to try for the week ahead making an effort to find some that overlap ingredients. Write down the veggies, fruits and herbs you will need for these recipes so that you can attack the market with a plan! I used to go without any idea of what I wanted to get and would end up with the most random assortment of things that I didn't know how the heck to use. As an example, on this trip I bought spinach because I knew I would use it for fried egg breakfasts, protein smoothies and mixed green salads. I also wanted some mushrooms because I put them in everything from miso soup and salads to rice bowls and on top of my favorite veggie burger. Lastly, I got some tomatillo salsa because I love it on my eggs in the morning as well as mixed into the fiesta bowls I make for Josh and I using cauliflower rice, protein of choice, black beans, cabbage, cilantro, lime and avocado.
4. If you aren't familiar with a specific fruit or veggie, just ask google! I think we tend to grab produce we are familiar with but it can be so fun to switch things up and try something you normally wouldn't touch. Recently, I ordered purple potatoes from the farm delivery service I use and made delicious baked fries with rosemary salt and avocado oil. They were SO good and tasted different than any other potato--somewhere in between a sweet potato and a yukon gold. Just get crazy-- I dare you!
5. Don't go to the market starving or stuffed! I have made this mistake a few times. If you go after a big meal, you may be tempted to overeat with all of the amazing samples or not feel hungry enough to try them (which would be a shame). On the flip side, if you go starving, you may end up binging on samples and then choose the first food truck that catches your eye instead of taking a little time to stroll (or strut, depending on your style) through the market. I love to take time to pick a few samples of fresh fruit, roasted nuts and specialty salts while I look around to tide me over before scouting out the perfect food truck!
6. Bring reusable green bags. When I was a newbie, I used to forget them all the time (I still do at the grocery store) and would end up loading up on plastic bags which is not only wasteful but super annoying to carry around. Next on my agenda, investing in a really solid basket or woven tote-- I always see people who kill it with their bag game!
7. If you have the time, stay until the end of the Farmer's Market (usually around 2 or 3) when vendors reduce their prices drastically and are wayyyy more willing to negotiate with you. Fresh flower bouquets for $6-- yes please!
Those are all the tips I have for now but I'm sure I'll think of 10 more right after I post this! What's been your experience at the Farmer's Market? Any tips & tricks that work for you? Please comment below and let me know if you have any questions!