What did you gather today at your local market? Was it what you had planned?
Contrary to what one might think, heading to the farmer’s market without a list can actually be quite fun and liberating.
Because it allows you the opportunity to purchase only what is in season where you live and then get your creative juices flowing, based on what you’ve found, once you’re back in the comfort of your own kitchen (or backyard fire pit!).
And with summer at our doorstep, even those who live in areas without abundant year-round produce, can turn to the very farmers, ranchers and fisherman who are growing, raising and hunting in the most natural ways possible.
Not only do we support their businesses and our communities, we also support the health of our families and the planet at the same time.
So what tops the list in terms of farmer’s market finds for June?
It depends on where you live. There are also a few ways to go about determining which you might seek out:.
1. The easiest, most straightforward thing to do is to simply get to the market in your neck of the woods and see what you find. Walk a loop to see what the options are, look, see, feel and taste and don’t be afraid to ask questions. The vendor can tell you how to store each food, how to prepare it and even describe the health benefits.
2. Don’t hesitate to make a mini trip out of it, too. Sometimes a weekend getaway in a not too far-off place can not only land you in a new favorite place to make a second home, but provide an entirely different climate with a completely different range of veggies and proteins for you to try. Living in Los Angeles and shopping at the Santa Monica Market, for example, is a vastly different scene from what one might find during a weekend trip to the desert.
3. If you’re more of a planner, you can refer to online resources such as the Marine Stewardship Council (1) , Eat Wild (2) and Local Harvest (3) to learn about sustainable seafood, what is available where you live and how to get involved with your local CSA, respectively. Then, based on what you determine is going to be available, you can refer to your favorite cookbook or website to make your list.
4. Another approach is to take inventory of your health as well as that of your family and see what foods and their corresponding health benefits might be in keeping with what you need. Don’t forget, food is medicine and one of the most beautiful things about having a food-first approach is that there’s no risk! If you’ve found out you’ve got an autoimmune condition, you’ll know that you’re better off avoiding the nightshade plants and will want to focus more heavily on leafy greens. Or perhaps you’ve learned your kids have got a thyroid condition, making that wild salmon a better protein option versus the farm fresh eggs.
5. Most importantly, have fun with it. Don’t overthink the number of ounces of fish you need to buy (you can freeze it!) or worry about taking home too much kale (there are endless ways to prepare it). Learn as you go and make it a fun process for everyone involved.
Prioritizing a foray to the farmer’s market as a part of your family’s weekly routine is the first step towards being sure you’re all eating the best foods possible!