Ask Your Farmer!

June 10, 2022
Portrait of male farmer holding a crate full of strawberries at the marketplace.

Welcome back! It’s June so that means it’s time to head over to a Farmers’ Market! There are year-round farmers’ markets and they’re great but to me, there is nothing like a farmers’ market during the growing season here in Massachusetts. What about you? Do you enjoy farmers’ markets? Read on to learn how to make the most out of your local market, save money at one, find out what’s in season, and where they are located. Keep reading to the end where we have more resources!

It’s good to have a plan before you start your Farmer’s Market shopping but it’s also good to be flexible and open to trying new things. Ask the farmer for recommendations while shopping. They know their produce best and will be able to help you make your selections. In fact, the farmer can give you lots of information about the produce they grow. If you purchase their tomatoes, ask them what kind of tomato it is. There are over 10,000 tomato varieties! You and your children can learn more about what you’re eating.

Did you go to the market with a special recipe in mind but can’t find the ingredients? Ask the farmer! There are often easy swaps to make, and farmers know them. Need parsley but couldn’t find any at the market? Substitute with carrot greens! For more tips on how to swap and what not to swap, you guessed it, ask the farmer!

Trendy organic carrot, tomatos, leek and lemon from home garden bed on barn wood table, Australian grown.

Fruit and Vegetable are Delicious in all their Shapes and Sizes!

Often the fruit and vegetables we see in the grocery store are close to perfect; however, produce at a Farmer’s Market can look really different. Have you ever seen a single carrot with multiple *legs*? Did you know there are countries that have passed laws to encourage people to buy fruit and vegetables that may not look ‘perfect’ but are perfectly delicious? The fruit and vegetables at a farmers’ market have been grown locally and they need to sell every bit of the produce they grow. Sometimes, a fruit or a vegetable may not look picture perfect but that has nothing to do with how it tastes. When you are at a farmers’ market with your children ask them to search out fruit and vegetables that may have an extra ‘bump’. When they find them, and they will, ask the farmer about that particular fruit or vegetable. There may be a story to go with it and it also might make it easier for your child to try it when they otherwise wouldn’t have. It may also cost less than the more ordinary-looking fruit and vegetables. Again, all you have to do is…ask the farmer.

Fresh vegetables being sold at farmers market from young Disabled man is wheelchair. Organically grown produce without the pesticides. Photo of Handicapped Person in Wheelchair wearing plaid shirt selling Fresh vegetables to young customer.

Seasonal Availability Chart:

And make sure you check out the Seasonal Availability Chart here to find out what is in season before you head out.

Farmers’ Market Locations, where are they?

Farmers’ Markets can be found across the state. There are mobile markets that make regular stops in a neighborhood. There may be a market that appears on regular dates in a parking lot. There may be a farmers’ market that has dedicated space. To find a market near you, click on the link here to learn more.

Saving money at the Farmer’s Market:

For tips on how to save money at a market, click on the link here

Get extra $ for buying local produce with the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP):

Shopping with SNAP? Some Farmers also participate in the Healthy Incentives Program or HIP. Massachusetts residents are automatically enrolled in HIP if they are receiving SNAP benefits. HIP puts money back on your EBT card when you use SNAP to buy healthy, local fruits and vegetables from HIP farm vendors – you can get an extra $40-$80 per month to buy healthy fruits and vegetables.  To find vendors that process HIP: www.dtafinder.com *not all farmers participate in the HIP program, so check before purchasing.

More posts about farmers’ markets:

https://www.mahealthyfoodsinasnap.org/healthy-you/blog/2018/08/30/visiting-farmers-market

https://www.mahealthyfoodsinasnap.org/healthy-you/blog/2021/06/01/brocs-going-farmers-market

As always, thanks for stopping by. You’re great company!

https://www.mass.gov/massachusetts-hip-gives-you-money-back-when-you-use-your-snap-benefits-to-buy-healthy-local-fruits-and-vegetables-from-hip-farm-vendors