Danica Patrick: Make the most of the farmers market

August 17, 2016 | by Danica Patrick

This time of year is fabulous for a foodie like me.

Summer means tons of fresh fruits and veggies are available, which makes it the perfect season for experimenting with new recipes.

Where’s the best place to get fresh food (besides your own garden)? Farmers markets. I love going to farmers markets. The only snag is they’re often held on weekends, which makes it nearly impossible for me to get to them. I make a point of stopping by when I am able.

(To make up for missing all those great markets, I planted a new garden at home this spring. You can’t get any fresher than plucking a ripe tomato from your own backyard!)

When you buy food from a farmers market, you’re getting what’s in season right now. And eating seasonally is a great thing. There’s less processing, less transit, less freezing. Your food is fresher, so it’s healthier and it tastes better.

Another benefit of the farmers market is the advice. The farmers who grew the food are often there, so you can ask them what’s in season and get pointers on how to cook it.

Almost every time, you can find fruits or veggies you’ve never tried before. Figuring out how to use them makes you a better cook. I’ve even tried snap pea tendrils, thanks to a farmers market.

Now that you’ve got a basket of delicious market finds, research some recipes. If it’s too hot to cook, get chopping and make a huge salad for dinner. Combine microgreens with some citrus, mint and cucumber, add a little grilled chicken and voila!

Keep these tips in mind if you head to the farmers market this week:

  • Seek out something new. Try something you’ve never tasted, even if it’s an heirloom tomato that’s a different color than you’re used to. Broaden your horizons, you won’t be disappointed.
  • Talk to the farmer. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages shoppers to ask the farmer about the produce. Get cooking tips, more information (organic or no?) and maybe even compare recipes.
  • Bring a bag or two. PBS Food makes a good point: often farmers don’t have a ton of bags with them to package your food. Bringing your own makes life easier.

Not sure where to find a market near you? Try the USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory.

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