A decade ago, as farmers markets were beginning to see a resurgence in a number of U.S. cities, they were a place to spend a morning picking up fresh, seasonal ingredients. Aside from the occasional stand selling baked goods, there wasn’t really anywhere to dine or socialize. [More]
Taking advantage of Seattle’s easygoing marijuana laws, the Cannabis Farmers Market debuted in the city Sunday. The event drew 600 customers.
As an undercover hidden camera investigation recently revealed, not every bearded and overall-wearing guy behind the stand at farmers markets is selling food he grew himself. Some of them just load up a local produce warehouses and sell it to you at a feel-good-about-saving-the-earth premium. So how do you tell who’s real and who’s shoveling you fertilizer?
If you’re in California and need to make a little extra cash, why not buy a bag of baby carrots from the supermarket, throw some potting soil on them, and sell them at your local farmers market as fresh-from-your-farm organic treats? Okay, maybe technically that’s not permitted, but who’s going to stop you? An NBCLA investigation found vendors at several farmers markets were lying to customers about their produce, and sourcing it from local warehouses instead of their own farms.
Farmers markets are a happening thing right now—everyone who’s anyone knows that if you don’t buy your mud-covered carrots from a sleepy teenager who just drove four hours into the city that very morning, then your carrots will taste like sawdust, the dinner party will be ruined, and you won’t get that promotion. But how do you know where the nearest farmers market is located? You could ask around, or you could hit up this handy farmers market locator from the USDA, which lets you search by market name, state, city, county, zip code, or forms of payment.
You may already know about WIC—”Women, Infants, and Children,” the government program that provides nutritional assistance to “low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women,” and to their children up to age five. But a lot of people don’t know that if you receive WIC or if you’re a low-income senior, you may also qualify for their farmers market program, which means you can take advantage of the same fresh-from-the-farm bounty as those coke-snorting yuppies who’ll buy anything with the word “heirloom” stamped across it.
Finding the freshest, healthiest, and tastiest produce at a farmer’s market requires asking farmers the right questions:
5. When was this picked? You ideally want fruit and vegetables that were picked one or two days before arriving at the market.
4. Can you recommend a recipe? Farmers usually have creative ideas for turning their produce into delicious meals. Don’t pretend you would know how to prepare Kohlrabi without asking.