By Lizzie Streit, a local registered dietitian and Neighborhood Roots board member
Farmers market season is in full swing. If you’re a fellow local food enthusiast, you probably agree it’s the greatest time of the year. Neighborhood Roots, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting local farmers and small businesses and bringing neighbors together over food, has kicked off the season for the Kingfield, Nokomis, and Fulton markets. The stands are overflowing with fresh vegetables, meats and cheeses, good coffee, treats from local bakers, and so much more.
If you’re new to the farmers market scene or even a seasoned market goer, it can be overwhelming. Luckily, there are easy things you can do to set yourself up for a successful shopping experience.
First, you’ll want to have a general idea of what produce is in season and what vendors will be at the market. Neighborhood Roots sends out a weekly newsletter with information about what’s new at the markets each week. You can subscribe here. This online seasonal produce tool is another great way to look up what’s in season in Minnesota.
Next, you’ll want to bring the following essentials with you on market day. They’ll help you navigate the market with ease and transport your goodies back home!
- Large tote bags - I like bags with reinforced bottoms, so there’s enough support and room for your goodies. Get collapsible ones for easy storage when you’re not using them.
- Reusable produce bags - Bringing your own produce bags is a good way to keep your veggies organized in your tote. Plus, you won’t have to rely on single-use plastic bags. If you’re looking to purchase some reusable produce bags, the Neighborhood Roots info booths at the markets sell them!
- Small bills - Some vendors don’t accept credit cards and appreciate cash payments, especially with small bills. If you forget cash, don’t sweat it! At the Neighborhood Roots markets, you can buy tokens at the info booth with a credit card to then use at stands in the same way you would cash.
- Water bottle or reusable cup - Minnesota summers can be hot and sticky. Bring along a water bottle to stay hydrated while you shop. You can also bring a reusable cup to fill with a beverage from a vendor, like lemonade or iced coffee.
- A cooler on wheels - If you plan to purchase meat, cheese, or other refrigerated items, you may want to bring along a cooler. Bring one on wheels if you have it, so you don’t have to lug it on your shoulder while you peruse the market.
Lizzie Streit creates and shares recipes that uses seasonal produce on her website, It's a Veg World After All.