Navigate the Farmers’ Market Like a Pro
Stopping by our local Farmers’ Market on sunny mornings is one of our favorite ways to celebrate summer. Nothing beats shopping for our weekly eats and treats in an open-air market and talking with the farmers supplying the market each week.
Here in Napa, our market is open on both Tuesdays and Saturdays, from May through October. Along with the usual farmers’ market fare, there’s live music, local chef demonstrations, activities for kids and even a Fourth of July pie making contest. We’re biased, but we like to think it’s one of the best in the country!
If not prepared, the breadth of options can sometimes be overwhelming. Here are our tips for making the most of a trip to your local Farmers’ Market:
Rise and shine! Produce is freshest first thing in the morning and it may be slim pickings later in the day. However, if you do decide to sleep in, you may be able to negotiate deals with a vendor or two as they’re getting ready to pack up before closing.
Ditch the list. Yes, we love our lists too, but in this case, it’s best to pick from what looks the best that day. Seasonal favorites will pop up and farmers may be holding specials, stay flexible while you shop.
Make your rounds. Walk around the market noting where you see the best prices. No need to shop for everything at one vendor. Buy your strawberries at one vendor, your greens and veggies at another.
Negotiate nicely. Those peaches are looking really good… better buy a bunch! Try to negotiate a better price if you’re buying in bulk.
Ask for advice. Not sure how to cook those sunchokes or Chinese eggplant? Ask the farmer for her tips for cooking them at home. Chances are they have some great ideas!
Keep cool. Pack a cooler with ice before leaving the house so you’ll have a place to put those fresh, crisp greens for the ride home. And you won’t have to rush if a Wine Sister suggests meeting for coffee!
Plan at home. At home, take stock of your farmers’ market bounty. Plan on preparing the most perishable foods early in the week. Save hardier veggies, like parsnips and potatoes, for a later meal.
Summertime Strawberry & Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
Pair with Middle Sister Sweet & Sassy Moscato