Nostalgia aside, have you checked out your local farmer’s market? Hopefully you have! Going to farmer’s markets can be an overwhelming experience, especially if you’re used to the orderly fashion of super markets. Farmer’s markets are normally busy and non-linear. That is to say, you won’t find everything of a certain category in one place like you would at a grocery store. Every vendor has some things the same as others, and some things different. So what should you focus on? First of all, if you find something new, try it! The benefit of farmer’s markets is that you can ask the farmer directly about the products. They will be able to tell you all about your new find, how to prepare it, where exactly it came from, and when it’s in peak season. You can also ask about the growing methods- what pesticides were used if any? When was it harvested?
There are some pretty cool things that you can find at a farmer’s market that you might not find (easily) anywhere else.
- Bee pollen, especially local bee pollen, is a treat that you can usually find at the farmer’s market. Bee pollen is the granules of packed plant pollen that worker bees collect through the day and drop into their hives. Bee pollen can be used in smoothies, cereals or salads and is known for its amazing antihistamine effects. Bee pollen is also an immune system boosting superfood.
- Artisan breads can also be found at the farmer’s market. If you have a specific request, allergy, or food intolerance and require specialty baked goods, this is the place for you! You will be able to talk directly to the baker, or someone who knows a lot about the baking process at the market. You can make special requests to have baked goods created for you, or you can inquire directly about which products suit your needs. You will also find a variety of bread options that you might not encounter at the grocery store including sprouted bread, or bread made with different types of grains.
- Celeriac and other funky looking root veggies are almost always present at farmer’s markets. This is something you might be inclined to try if you haven’t before. Celeriac, also known as knob celery, is a tasty and health root vegetable that is crisp and tastes sort of like a celery and potato combination. Celeriac is low in starch, and can be consumed raw, baked, stir fried, mashed, or in soups. It’s high in antioxidants and vitamin K, and can keep for up to 3 months!
- The freshest and tastiest carrots ever! There is nothing like a farm fresh carrot. If you think that there is no difference between an organic and conventional carrot or better yet a local or shipped carrot, think again! These tasty roots are so sweet, crunchy and bring any recipe to life!
- Beans! The farmer’s market is a great place to get a hold of fresh beans. Sprouted or dried. That way you know what you are getting, you can talk to the farmer about best ways to use them and prepare them and you are guaranteed that they are fresh and have not been sitting around in a bin in a bulk store. As for the sprouted beans and legumes – you have to pick up a bag of sprouted chickpea, lentil or even pea shoots. Just to experience the sweet bite that these nutritious legumes will lend to your palette!
You may not do all of your shopping at the farmer’s market, but it’s definitely a fun thing to check out! Looking for your local market? Try this map http://tfmn.ca/?page_id=6
Make the most of all that beautiful farmer’s market produce by joining us for one of our cooking series a series of classes here in the studio where you can learn how to maximise the fresh flavours of the season all summer long!