Monday, July 16, 2012

Farmers Market Etiquette.

As you know if you read this space, I {heart} the local farmers market that suddenly materializes on Tuesdays from noon to 4 pm, May to October.  Ours is relatively small, boasting about 20 vendors, but offering some of the freshest and most interesting products over and above the usual farm fare.Just found this and thought it worthy to post.

The only things I would add:  bring along your own reusable bags and an insulated one (with a "freez-pak' also known as blue ice) for those purchases that must remain cold, such as meat, cheeses, etc. AND, leave the kids in strollers at home.  There is no room to navigate and your screaming kids are not that special.  So here you are:
Because the Accidental Locavore was on vacation last week, and since it's getting to be peak Farmers' Market season, I thought it was a good time to re-run my farmers' favorite posting.
During the taping of a new cooking show, the Accidental Locavore was talking to a couple of farmers who have been at the various Greenmarkets in New York City for years. As you can imagine, they've witnessed a lot -- from drunks, dogs and kids all run amuck, to women with cigarettes demanding to know if the produce is organic, they've seen it all. Some of their stories may surprise you and if you recognize yourself...
1. For example, the Locavore never realized that if you pick up a tomato to see how ripe it is, put it down, someone else picks it up, etc., etc., by the end of the day it's essentially a tomato water balloon. Not good.
2. Usually farmers are happy to let you taste berries. However, if you taste a berry and like it, take the box you picked the berry from. Don't get a new box and don't add more berries to the box you have.
3. The Locavore's pet peeve at any market: shucking corn. It makes a huge mess and nothing else. If you take it home shucked, it loses moisture and flavor (and you've got nothing to grill it in, one of the best and easiest ways to cook corn). The way to see if an ear of corn is going to be good is to look at it. It should look fresh and moist, not dried out. If you are a corn shucker, try picking one or two ears that look good to you, take them home un-shucked and see how they compare to the ones you made a mess with. My history shows a 98 percent success rate just going for the good-looking ones.
4. One of the charms of any farmers' market is the pace. Give yourself time to wander through and see what's available. Talk with the farmers -- they welcome your appreciation of their hard work. In return, they will be happy to help you pick out the best stuff, find something that may not have been put out yet, take special orders, or save you something if you can't get there early, and often give you tips on how to prepare it.
The other 5 tips are HERE.  Visit and enjoy your local Farmers Market when you can.  You won't be sorry.

And so it goes.

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