Our 11 favorite tips for navigating the farmers market

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by Lisa Lozano
How to Shop at a Farmers Market

Chances are, you have a beautiful spring weekend ahead of you where you live. So why not head to the farmers market with your family and pick up some fresh, healthy ingredients to make a divine weekend dinner? And we know that the plethora of alluring fruits, veggies and artisanal products can be overwhelming, so we're sharing our favorite tips for navigating the farmers market!

Tip 1: The No. 1 rule of any farmer's market – choose what is seasonal and fresh.

Tip 2: A lot of farmer's market vendors sell "seconds" or slightly imperfect produce for a discount. These are great to pick up for cases when you're plan to cook the veggies or fruits.

Tip 3: Use a trip to the farmers market to educate your kids about where their food comes from and how to make healthy choices.

Tip 4: Farmers markets are not necessarily more expensive than the grocery store. But you're cutting out the middleman, so the farmer gets to keep more of the money, and you're supporting your community.

Tip 5: Regular tomatoes ripen from the inside out, but heirloom tomatoes, which are commonly sold at farmers markets, ripen from the outside in. Look for an heirloom tomato that is slightly soft on the bottom, with the color getting lighter/more pink toward the top.

Tip 6: Store your apples in the fridge to maintain freshness.

Tip 7: When buying asparagus, look for a pencil or Sharpie width, whereas if you get to a highlighter width, it's going to be too woody and tough. (But these can still be used to make stocks or soups!)

Tip 8: When choosing greens like spinach or lettuce, fresh is key. Look for plump, crisp leaves.

Tip 9: Store cut produce like asparagus, spinach and more in cups of ice water in the fridge to keep them fresher longer.

Tip 10: Choose smaller radishes for more flavor, and avoid cracked or bruised skins.

Tip 11: It's okay if the produce needs some processing; Shelling peas or even shucking corn can be a fun activity to do with kids.

Let's keep it going – what are your favorite tips and tricks for farmers market shopping? Let us know in the comments!

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