If you want to help support locally grown fruit and vegetables, then it’s about time you start shopping at your local farmers market. From the article “Get the most out of your local farmers market” by Judi Gerber, Gerber states that “the USDA estimates that there are over 4,600 farmers’ markets throughout the United States and the numbers just keep increasing.”

The best benefit of a farmers market is clearly stated in the article, “you get the freshest produce available.” Farmers usually pick their produce right before the market opens. This means that their produce is better for you because it does not lose any vitamins or minerals from sitting or traveling. Another great benefit is that there are a “variety of different fruits and vegetables to select from, unlike the two or three kinds that you see at the grocery store.”

Gerber also lists 5 key tips to making your farmers market experience more enjoyable.

Those tips are:

  • Before buying, walk around first and check out all the stands to compare selection, quality and price.
  • Bring lots of change and small bills and keep it in your pocket or shopping bag.
  • Consider bringing your own large, canvas shopping bag or shopping cart. It can get heavy carrying around many bags of produce.
  • Bring a hard container or box to keep your delicate berries, tomatoes, or peaches from being crushed.
  • Take advantage of the fact that this is your weekly hometown market and get to know the growers. Don’t hesitate to ask questions. They are the best sources for identifying the different varieties, explaining how they are grown, and for help on preparing and storing their foods.
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