Farmers Market finds are really pretty special if you think about it. They are created or grown by folks in your local area.
One of my favorite things about Farmers Markets are that you will never find the same thing each week.
Another reasons I love these markets is that it’s a great way to see and realize that the “buy local” and “farm-to-fork” movements are alive and well in your community.
Soon local farmers markets will be opening up across the United States. To help you get the most out of your market visits, we’ve complied some tips on what to do with all of the fabulous finds you bought home with you.
If you’ve never been to a Farmers Market before, you may have questions such as:
WHAT DO THEY HAVE AT FARMERS MARKETS?
IS THE FOOD AT FARMERS MARKET MORE EXPENSIVE?
EVER WONDER WHERE YOUR PRODUCE EVER CAME FROM?
DO I NEED TO BRING MY OWN SHOPPING BAG?
Here are some Tips to help you get the most out of your Farmers Market Finds!
1. Make Fresh Salsa
Don’t get me wrong, canned salsa is just as good as fresh salsa, however, there is just something about fresh from the garden salsa!! The flavors marry together terrifically, and they are always delish! The flavors pop together nicely and it’s a wonderful experience!
Here are a couple of recipes for salsa that I think you will enjoy!
2. How to Handle the Peppers you bought
To avoid “jalapeno hands,” it’s best to wear gloves when handling them. If, however, you skip this step and find your hands burning – don’t despair! The capsaisin that makes peppers hot breaks down better in oil than it does in water. Therefore, coat your hands in olive or vegetable oil, or slather on a heavy hand cream to minimize the burn until it goes away.
Here is a pepper recipe that always works well with fresh farmers market finds!
3. Buying Meat at Farmers’ Markets
Meat from local farms and CSAs (Community-Supported Agriculture) can be quite a bit more expensive than what you find in larger grocery stores.
To save money, look for more affordable “mini-farm sampler” type packs that feature a small amount of several different types of meat. (Most of the meat used in these recipes was sourced this way). It’s a great way to try new things and save a little money in the process.
4. Preserve Fresh Herbs
Fresh herbs are a great way to add flavor to recipes without adding extra calories. Unfortunately, they can get pretty pricey and they don’t have a long shelf life. However, most fresh herbs can be preserved for later use.
For example, fresh basil can be dried in the oven or frozen in ice cube trays covered by a layer of olive oil.
5. How to Measure the Fresh Produce you bought
When working with garden-fresh produce, such as ears of corn, it can be tricky to know how much to substitute when necessary. As a rule of thumb, an average medium-sized ear of corn will yield between ¾ – 1 cup of kernels.
6. Make meatballs from the fresh ground beef you bought
Homemade meatballs are a great idea to make ahead and freeze. To help meatballs keep their nice, round shape, bake them for 15-20 minutes on a lined baking sheet before adding them to a baking dish with sauce.
One of my favorite new recipes is this Honey Siracha Glazed Meatball dish by Eat Yourself Skinny. I used ground beef in lieu of the ground turkey. They are amazing and great for lunches or dinner!
7. Mason Jar Salads
For best results, use wide-mouthed mason jars. You can use any jars you have on hand, but the narrower-mouthed jars make it a little tougher to get the salad out. Pint-sized jars are great for smaller lunch portions, while the quart-sized versions are perfect for a hearty dinner serving.
If you use an oil-based homemade dressing, the oil may solidify in the refrigerator. For best results, allow your salads to sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before serving.
The key to a successful Mason jar salad is the order of your ingredient layers!
8. Prepare Ahead of Time
To make sure you have all the supplies you need to take care of and get the most out of your farmers market purchases, pick up the following recommended items:
Other recipes that will work great with the produce you purchased:
If you’ve asked yourself if there are any Farmers Markets near me, make sure to head over to this site. You can search for the closest market to you! By using this site, I found four near us that I knew nothing about!