Attending the Memphis Farmers Market on Saturday mornings has been a favorite weekly ritual of mine since the market first opened in 2006.
Over the years the market has grown in size and vendors have come and gone, but the one constant has been the incredibly delicious locally grown produce, locally raised meats and hand-prepared foods.
Whether shopping at the downtown market or one of the several farmers markets across town, there are a few things to know before you head to the market.
Here are my top five tips to help you navigate your favorite farmers market like a pro.
Go early for the best selection. Vendors tend to sell out of popular items.
Bring your own bags. It’s environmentally friendly and the farmers will appreciate it. I have a large flat bottom woven basket that I use. The flat bottom helps me organize my finds, keeping heavy items from crushing more fragile ones. Also, consider having a Tupperware container for delicate items like fresh berries.
Have a cooler with ice packs in the car to keep perishables like meats, cheeses and eggs fresh on the ride home on a hot summer day.
Shop with an open mind, choosing what’s fresh and in season versus having a set shopping list. There are lots of treasures to be found at a farmers market that you won’t find at a grocery store. Seek out more than just fruits and vegetables. Most markets have food artisans that sell items like breads, jams and sweets.
Talk to the farmers. They can tell you what’s special and unique in their offerings as well as give you recipes and preparation ideas.
This is Jennifer Chandler with The Weekly Dish. Happy shopping!