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Did you know there are now more than 170 successful and diverse Kentucky Proud farmers’ markets across the Commonwealth, spanning 112 counties with approximately 3,000 unique vendors? There’s no denying that farmers’ markets are awesome but shopping at a market is a little different than a trip to your local grocery store. No matter if you’re a market newbie or a seasoned shopper, check out this list of tips to maximize your farmers’ market experience in 2022:
- Farmers’ markets are about more than fruits and vegetables. It’s not just fruits and veggies at your local farmers’ market. Many farm families also bring jams, jellies, breads, and butters passed down from generation to generation. Not to mention fresh meats, eggs, flowers, herbs, cheese, ice cream, wine, and more. If variety is the spice of life, then farmers’ markets are extra spicy. Oh, and some markets sell spices too.
- Ask your local farmers for recipes and prep tips for unfamiliar items. Shying away from that weird looking kohlrabi because you don’t have a clue what to do with it? Ask vendors selling anything unfamiliar that has sparked your curiosity about prep tips and recipes. They grow and raise it so they’ll know what to do with it. All farmers are passionate about what they’re selling and eager to answer questions, so don’t be shy. They may give you a new idea to liven up your next meal.
- Arrive early to find the best selection. This one is somewhat of a no-brainer, but if you’re new to shopping at farmers’ markets, this may be the most important tip of all. The earlier you arrive at the market, the better the selection. Market vendors bring what they have to sell and when they run out, it’s gone. Just like your mom used to say, the early bird gets the worm! If you want to live a bit dangerously and potentially get a good deal, show up right before the market closes for the day. You may be able to find some great discounts – that is, if there are any products left.
- Bring large shopping bags. Packing your favorite reusable bags for grocery runs is nothing new, but for trips to your local farmers’ market, bring bags big enough to fit all of your farm fresh purchases. Fresh-cut flower bouquets take up a fair amount of space as do a couple of tomahawk steaks. Want to try your hand at baking a cushaw pie? Well, you’re going to need a bigger bag.
- Plan the time of your trip to the Market. Is there anything worse than buying beautiful fresh fruits and vegetables, leaving them in your car while you run some other errands and then getting home only to find bags of wilted greens and mushy berries? Maybe trying to get the smell of rotten food out of your car! Both are tragic yet totally avoidable scenarios. Either make sure your market run is your last stop before heading home or load a cooler with some reusable icepacks to keep perishables chilled. Problem solved!
Plan a visit to your local market where you’ll find the freshest ingredients and so much more. Kentucky Proud farmers’ markets truly are where the best of Kentucky comes together. For a complete list of Kentucky Proud farmers’ markets, visit: kyproud.com/farmersmarkets