Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tips For The Farmers Market

Ummm...can you believe tomorrow's April?  I can't!  For me, April is the start of something special at the Greenmarket.  Not that apples, root vegetables, and dark greens are not delicious in the winter, but my heart sings for produce like asparagus, rhubarb, and fresh berries.  And in April and May, these are when the gems start to appear.  So I encourage everyone to make it to their farmers market and check out the goods.  Here are some tips taken from Gabrielle Langholtz from the Greenmarket, for being a savvy shopper:

-Don't make a shopping list.  Buy what you think looks good, go home, and make something from there.

-Bring cash.  Most stands do not accept credit cards.

-Try something new.  The beauty of a farmers market is that you get the freshest ingredients, with a huge variety that you could never get at a grocery store.  Now is the time to try something new, because you know you wouldn't be getting it any fresher anywhere else.  Black radishes, duck eggs, kohlrabi, etc.  They have it, and you purchasing it, encourages the farmer to continue growing it.  By paying the farmer to grow that special variety, it ensures that it will be around for generations to come.

-Go early.  Trust me, it is way more pleasant.  You have chance to get the freshest of the fresh produce, chat with the farmers, and not be bumped in to!  Oh and it won't be as hot, so your vegetables will be perkier.

-Bring bags.  Seriously, you should be doing this everywhere you go these days.  It reduces fossil fuels, eliminates that huge bulk of plastic bags under your kitchen cabinet that annoy you everyday, and cloth or canvas bags are sturdier.  Duh!

-Bring a cooler or an ice pack.  This is great for dairy and eggs if you don't plan on making it home for a while.  Or if you have an hour subway ride back uptown.

-Talk to the farmers.  Learn how your food is grown, where they are from, and it might help you decide where to purchase your apples from.

-Don't require your food to be organic.  The more I read about the toxins in produce, the more I freak out about what I am eating, but the truth is, as a farmer, becoming certified organic by the government is expensive and time consuming.  A lot of times farmers are organic, but just aren't certified by the government.  They best thing to do is just ask!

-Learn to freeze, pickle, or jar your produce.  Ever notice how strawberries are really perfection in June and that is about it?  Fruits and vegetables are harvested at certain times, depending on your location, and that means 10 months out of the year you can't get the freshest, most flavorful version of that thing.  So you can learn how to make jam out of your strawberries, freeze your green beans, and pickle your Kirbys while they are in season.

Click here to read 10 reasons to buy local.

Click here for the most delicious Banana Crunch Muffins EVER.


  1. where in flushing, queens? thanks

  2. The Greenmarket is in Union Square in Manhattan, but there are tons of farmers markets throughout NYC.