This is such a great article I couldn't have said it any better.
I have to say that since I started to carry my own cloth re-usable bags, I have been pretty shocked to see how many people just don't get that. Around here I have to actually explain to baggers that I have my own bags. And then they still use plastic and set that in the cloth bags. ARRRRGGGGGG!!!!
Summer is here. And Henderson County has the best fresh everything with several markets around the area.
Thanks Michael Caruso for a great article!
It’s summertime, and that means plenty of barbeques, beach weekends, and the best your local farmers market has to offer! Shopping at the farmers market is better for the environment, better for the local economy, and better for your wallet. Check out these tips, courtesy of MMPI.
Did you know that most conventional food travels an average of 1,500 miles before it reaches your plate? That’s a lot of wasted energy for something you can find so much closer to home! In fact, switching to buying even 10% of your produce from local sources will contribute 5-17 times less CO2 than those who buy non-local.
Once you eat fresh, recently harvested produce, you’ll realize the stuff from the supermarket (organic or not) is just not the same thing. Here are some helpful hints for hitting the farmers market this summer:
1. Don’t forget your bags, baskets, and containers. Invest in good reusables. No one goes to market and forgets their bags! A basket can also be very handy, especially during berry season. There are no plastic clamshell containers at the market, so stacking is not an option unless you bring your own. Take some of everything: produce bags, bread bags, and containers… they all come in handy!
2. Bring cash and plenty of small change. It’ll be faster and easier for everyone. Green Genius knows it can be awkward to pass a $50 dollar bill to a farmer selling you $3 worth of spinach!
3. Bring your family and friends. It’s more fun to share the market with others. Consider meeting at the market for a meal or drink. It’s also a place to involve the whole family in food choices.
4. Do a full walk-through. There are no returns. Who has the best tomatoes? Would you have preferred the peaches instead of the pears? Walk the whole market first to see what’s available and compare prices and product. Also, produce gets heavier as the day goes on. Melons and squash should be your last purchases, so you don’t have to carry them around all day.
5. Go early and get first pickings. You cannot imagine the excitement the regular market shoppers have for the season’s first strawberries, asparagus, ramps… If you want to take part to the fullest, don’t sleep in.
6. Go late and get good deals. If you are not picky, vendors will generally be happy to give you a discount and not have to haul anything back with them. They worked hard enough to get it to market in the first place.
7. Ask questions. You’ll get real answers. If you want to know when something was picked, or how to best choose a particular item, just ask. Feel free to ask what something is, or try things that you would not necessarily see at the store. Farmers know all about what they grow, and sometimes they will share great recipes too—that’s not happening at the supermarket!
8. Speak to other marketers. Sociologists estimate that people who skip the supermarket in favor of farmers markets have about 10 times the number of conversations while shopping. In addition to your farm-fresh zucchini, you just might pick up a new shopping buddy.
9. Don’t buy ingredients for a meal; make a meal based on the best ingredients you buy. Don’t just go to the market to cross things off your grocery list. Buy what’s best and in season, and try new things. When you buy fresh and simple, the dishes you prepare can be also. Green Genius loves making a “market meal”—a help-yourself-to-all-of-the-goodness-we-just-got-meal. You can obviously make a list, but keep an open mind. Take advantage of seasonal inspiration!
Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GRI GREEN
2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors
Jerri McCombs, Advanced Virtual Assistant
828/553-5190 or info@JerriMcCombs.com