There's nothing quite like the farmer's market: The fresh produce, the flowers, the artisanal baked goods! Whether you shop big at the Kelowna Farmer's Market, or further afield in Armstrong, Vernon or elsewhere, we want to make sure you make the most out of your shopping experience! Read on!
Why Shop at a Farm Market
Aside from growing food in your own backyard, shoping at a farmer's market is the best way to get the freshest produce available. Most produce will likely have been harvested from a local grower within the past few days.
2. Seasonal Produce
When you're purchasing your fruits and vegetables at a farmers' market, you're definitely getting it in season. Plus, you'll probably be able to find produce that you've never even heard of before!
3. It's Eco-Friendly
Farm markets feature ingredients sourced locally, which means the transportation impact of that food is significantly reduced. On top of that, many smaller-scale growers and farmers use greener technologies and practice free-range husbandry that's less impactful on the environment.
4. Support Local
By shopping directly from local farmers and artisans, you are putting their money directly back into the local economy, and supporting a business owner who is also a neighbour.
Tips For Shopping Like a Pro
1. Get There Early
Heading to the farmer's market early (before the crowds) is the best way to nab the best-of-the-best produce. Getting there early means you're guaranteed to see all the items the vendors have brought with them, before they sell out, or sell the best quality ingredients. High-demand newly-in-season foods also tend to sell out, so if you're looking for something particiulary and arrive later in the day, there's a chance it could be sold out.
2. Peruse Before You Buy
Farmer's markets often have many stands selling similar products and ingredients, and it's easy to spend your entire budget (or fill your bags to overflowing) at the very first stall. Go for a lap around the market and take stock of everything that vendors are selling. Some markets have a website that list all their vendors, which is another great way to plan ahead.
3. Bring Your Own Bags
Not all vendors have bags, and many only sell their products in small baskets or containers. Bring reusable bags or a tote, as well as reusable mesh produce bags, to make sure you are prepared to shop. Plan on buying a lot? Try using a small cart or even a collapsile wagon.
4. Have a Plan For Your Produce
It's easy to over-shop at the farmer's market, especially when you spot a beautiful pile of fresh veggies or fruit. Keep in mind that you'll want to eat most of the fresh food you buy at the market within the next week - unless you have plans to make make-ahead meals or freeze what you buy.
5. Try the Samples
If a vendor is offering samples, take advantage! Chat to them about their product or business, learn about what they have available at their stall, and try out samples to ascertain what you want to buy, and what maybe isn't to your taste.
6. Get to Know Your Vendors
The farmer's market is a great venue to chat up the vendors and learn a bit from their expertise. They might be able to give you advice about prep or cooking, and what product they might be selling next.
7. Get Creative With Ingredients at Home
We've all done it: Bought more than we planned, or picked up an ingredient or product we've never actually eaten or prepared at home before. This is the perfect opportunity to try new recipes! Simply enter your ingredients in your internet browser's search bar and see what pops up. Look for smoothies, soups, stews and bowls, all of which are great meals for combining ingredients and flavours.