(Above: Westchase District Farmers Market vendors are happy to let your try samples.)

(Above: Westchase District Farmers Market vendors are happy to let your try samples.)

So you’re a novice to farmers markets – perfect! We pride ourselves on being friendly and educational to newcomers. We like these tips for maximizing your visit to our market, provided by the American Institute for Cancer Research:

Bags, Boxes and Bins

Before you leave home, don’t forget to grab a few reusable grocery bags for convenience and easy shopping. Also pack a couple of insulated/freezer bags if you plan to purchase meat, poultry, eggs or dairy items. A small cooler with ice will also do the trick. Otherwise, if your trip extends two hours after you’ve purchased perishables, those items will be at risk for spoiling, especially in the summer heat. 

Scope It Out

Don’t buy the first thing you see. Walk around the market at least once to see what the vendors are offering and at what price. Bring a paper and pencil if it helps to write down what you find. Eggs, dairy products, juices, pre-cut fruits and vegetables, meat, seafood, and poultry, should be chilled on ice while on display. If not, avoid these products.

Wash It Off

Just as you would with fresh supermarket produce, be sure to wash your fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating. Washing your fruits and veggies will get rid of dirt and many types of bacteria, reducing your risk of food-borne illness. Even if you’re not eating the skin or rind, when you cut into a melon for example, you can spread bacteria into the flesh. So give it a good wash and/or scrub.

Meat Here, Veggies There

Make foods that need to stay chilled or frozen your final purchases to minimize the amount of time between the market and your home. Place your meat, poultry, and seafood in separate bags away from produce and other items. Your cooler or insulated bags will come in handy now.

Ask and Be Brave

Try something new. Even if you don’t like the traditional red beets, you may find the milder flavored golden beets more to your liking. Chat with our vendors about foods you’ve never tried or don’t recognize. They can speak knowlegeably about the taste, texture and how to prepare them. You may even get a little taste. And of course, browse our blog for recipies using the products available at the market.