At the farmers’ market

The Eco Women are huge fans of their local farmer’s markets. Where else to find the freshest of local produce, while also supporting local businesses?

In Recycla’s town, the Saturday farmers’ market is a thriving, bustle scene every weekend and, in recent years, has expanded to other days of the week and other locations around town. In fact, she is a big fan of the Wednesday afternoon farmers’ market, which is located at a park just a mile from her house. And, while her older daughter’s soccer schedule has kept her from hitting the Saturday market this spring, the sports season has just ended, so now she thinks she can bike over to the market this coming Saturday.

Recycla and her family visited friends near Ottawa last summer and went to the local farmers’ market, where they saw these huge bunches of carrots.

In case any of you are newbies on the farmers’ market scene, Recycla has some tips to make your visit more enjoyable and productive:

Go early — Farmers’ markets can open as early as 6 or 7 a.m. Get there in the first couple of hours in order to get the best produce.

Be prepared — Wear sunscreen and a big floppy hat to protect you from the sun’s rays. Comfortable shoes are a must! Have a backpack, cloth shopping bag (like this one), or some other vessel in which to carry home your purchases. And bring cash — not too many farmers have credit card machines in the back of their pick-up trucks.

Walk a lap first — Scout out everything before buying. Take note of who’s selling what and for how much.

Talk to the farmers — Find out where the food came from, if the farmer uses organic or conventional methods, and even what his/her favorite recipes might be.

Pay attention — Make sure that the produce you’re buying was in fact grown locally. Recycla has been hearing rumors for years about one farmer’s wares at the Saturday market.  And in recent weeks, local market-goers have been in a tizzy over the inclusion of a “local” bakery that is actually a franchise in a chain. And finally, one farmer has a huge sign announcing his “corn fed beef” — any Eco Warrior worth their weight in organic veggies knows that grass-fed is the way to go.

Don’t rush — Take your time and savor this experience. Most farmers’ markets have so much more than just produce — homemade cheeses, baked goods, freshly pressed apple cider (in the fall), and more. This is food at its finest and you should enjoy your excursion. Recycla’s daughters’ favorite part of the market is the lovely French woman who makes crepes right there.

Tell the Eco Women: Do you go to your local farmer’s market? What are some of your favorite things to get there?

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