I know that some of you have shared with me that you have just recently started venturing out to your own farmers market and you felt a little overwhelmed. Here are some of my tips for navigating any farmers market.
1. Get your coffee BEFORE you arrive at the farmers market. The line for the market baristas is always one of the longest.
2. With coffee in hand, make a circle or a zig zag around your market without buying anything. Just take it all in.
3. On the second time around, make your purchases not worrying about whether this is the best vendor or this is the best price. You really can’t go wrong with any local, in-season food.
4. Realize that in the beginning your trips to the farmers market may take longer than you had expected but know that overtime, you will discover who your favorite vendors are, what you like to buy, who’s offering the best prices and so on.
5. Also know that in the beginning you may tend to “over-buy” so dazzled by all of the amazing food. After a few trips, you’ll have a better idea of what you’ll actually be able to use before things start to go bad.
6. Take the time to search out a farmers market that makes you feel comfortable. I had tried out a few in the beginning but came to really love the downtown Portland market. I know just where to park. I love the trees. I have my favorite vendors but for other people, coming downtown and being amongst the crowds can be stressful. With farmers markets on practically every corner, search out one that you really love.
7. And know that sometimes it’s okay to come away with simply a box of cookies or a little tart because there’s more to the farmers market than just food.
All original text and photographs copyright: Carrie Minns 2009-2011