JBG Collards Daikon Beets

Tips for Farmers' Market Shopping

In our Happy Kitchen classes, we share tips and strategies for eating more local food and shopping at the SFC Farmers’ Markets.

Unfortunately, some of the tips we normally give for market shopping don’t make sense right now.

This isn’t the time to linger at the market, and if you’re trying to limit grocery store trips, it might be tough to match up your market finds with the other grocery staples you need.

Farmers’ market shopping looks a little different these days, but this is a great time to connect, re-connect, or stay connected with your local food system.

I shopped at the SFC Farmers’ Market Downtown on Saturday and I found that my Happy Kitchen training came in really handy for making a shopping list, finding recipes that use seasonal produce, and adapting to what’s available without wasting food.

I know a lot of us are finding our new food routines, myself included. If you’ve been unsure about how to approach the market right now, read on to learn about my experience.

Like everything else we do in The Happy Kitchen, this isn’t the one right way to do it – just some ideas that might help you figure out your right way.

Before the market:

  • Then, I checked out the weekly vendor list. This isn’t a guarantee of who will be there, but it helped me know what kinds of products I might find.
  • If you’re still learning Central Texas seasons, our seasonality handout can help!
Produce Availability at Central Texas Farmers Markets.jpg

Shopping the market:

  • I got everything on my list, including enormous bunches of carrots and beets, mint, and the chicken sausage, tortillas, and baguette I’d planned to look for based on the preorder lists.
  • I ventured off-list to get new potatoes, plain pecans and basil to make pesto with my carrot tops, dulce de leche flavored pecans for snacking, and breakfast tacos, empanadas, and kombucha to make a late breakfast back at home.
  • I paid for everything with a credit card and there was hand sanitizer at every booth.
Carrots - web.jpg

Coming home:

  • Like always, I made sure to wash all of my produce.
  • I made pesto with the carrot tops, basil, pecans, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil and I froze it for later.
  • I shredded the carrots and beets so they’d be ready for a salad later in the week.
  • I hadn’t planned to buy potatoes, so I looked through my fridge and cabinets and decided to roast them with the pesto and serve with farro and spinach later in the week. When I buy fresh produce that wasn’t on my list, I find that it’s helpful to make a plan for it as soon as I get home, so I don’t forget about it.
carrot and beet salad.jpg

I’m still figuring out my new shopping routines so I didn’t need tons and tons of things, but I was glad to see the market is still a reliable place for a variety of produce, meat, eggs, milk, bread, prepared foods, and even soap.

And of course we’re still running Double Up Food Bucks! The bright gold tent was right at the front of the market, so if you receive SNAP or WIC benefits and choose to spend them at the market, we can match up to $30 per market visit on fruits and vegetables.

I really enjoyed shopping in the open-air environment, and it was great to see the added safety measures in action. I’ll definitely be back.