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Shopping at the farmers market is not only healthy for you and the environment, but can also be much more rewarding than a regular supermarket. Here are a few ways to thoroughly enjoy your next trip to the farmers market!

  1. What’s in season? Know what produce is in season, so you know what to expect. Ask about what produce will be available in the coming weeks. Eating with the seasons not only supports local and sustainable agriculture, but also means you are consuming the freshest and most nutritious produce around!
  2. Bring cash: Small bills are the best way to go, as most purchases will only be a few dollars and most vendors do not accept credit cards.
  3. Interact with the farmers: Ask the vendors about how they grew their product. Ask the farmer to share their favorite way to prepare the food that they are selling. Learning about the hard work and care that went into growing your food will make cooking and consuming it much more meaningful!
  4. Sample something unusual: If vendors are providing samples, don’t be shy about trying their products. Vendors are always eager for new feedback on their product. Also, your new favorite fruit, vegetable, bread or cheese could be waiting for you!
  5. Cooking demos: Many markets have simple cooking demos or cooking classes that teach you how to make delicious recipes using the farm fresh produce.
  6. Early or late? Going early will ensure that you get the “cream of the crop,” but waiting until the end of the day could mean discounted produce.
  7. Buy in bulk: If you buy produce by the case, farmers will often give you a discount. Consider buying in bulk to continue eating local produce throughout the winter months. Most fruits and veggies are easy to freeze, can or dry. Ask the farmer for tips on the best preserving methods.
  8. Buy something unusual: New and unusual ingredients make for fun in the kitchen. But something you have never tried, and head home to search the web or your favorite cookbook for inspiring recipes to incorporate the new ingredient into your next meal!
  9. Reuse: Don’t forget to bring your own reusable shopping bags, baskets or containers. Eating sustainably also means reducing resources and energy used for packaging and bags.
  10. Have fun! Allow enough time to take a leisurely stroll around the market so that you can enjoy the bounty that each market has to offer!

How do you make the most of your trips to the farmers market?

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Katie Cavuto, MS, RD is a registered dietitian, trained chef, mom and lover of real food. She is the president of Healthy Bites, a Philadelphia based company offering culinary nutrition services. Katie is the consulting dietitian for the Philadelphia Phillies and Flyers.  As a chef she is an energetic advocate of cooking and falling in love with food—and yourself in process.  Widely sought for her knowledge and ability to translate nutrition into approachable messages, Katie can be seen on local and national TV and in print as an expert in her field.  For more on Katie, visit her website and follower her on twitter @healthybites or Facebook.

Katie Cavuto, MS, RD is a registered dietitian, trained chef, mom and lover of real food. She is the president of Healthy Bites, a Philadelphia based company offering culinary nutrition services. Katie is the consulting dietitian for the Philadelphia Phillies and Flyers. As a chef she is an energetic advocate of cooking and falling in love with food—and yourself in process. Widely sought for her knowledge and ability to translate nutrition into approachable messages, Katie can be seen on local and national TV and in print as an expert in her field. For more on Katie visit her website and follower her on twitter @healthybites or Facebook. read more about