By Katherine Blessis
“It’s more than just a shopping trip.”
There is nothing like a freshly picked, juicy tomato from the farmers’ market. Or a loaf of cheese bread that is still slightly warm in the middle because it was baked a few hours before. The return of spring means the return of outdoor farmers’ markets, and that means the return of scrumptious local foods.
On Thursday, April 16, the South Shore Locavores held an event centered on making the most of the farmers’ market. Presenters included Kara Mallon, Marketing and Social Media Manager at the Plymouth Farmers’ Market; Dave Purpura from Plato’s Harvest Organic Farm and Jenny Healy from Jenny’s Bread.
Here is a quick list of ways to make the most of your farmers’ market experience as described by the Locavore meeting’s three presenters:
- Talk to people. Talk to farmers, vendors and other customers. Ask vendors about recipes and what to do with their products. Ask farmers about how to use their food. Can you freeze it, can it, preserve it, or dry it? What keeps and what doesn’t keep?
- Bring your family, friends and neighbors. Pack a blanket, buy some dinner from the pre-made food section of the farmers’ market and listen to the live band. It’s a perfect way to spend a summer night.
- Pay attention to how much you need. No need to over-buy produce if it will go bad. You can buy just enough for the week and restock the next week!
- Scout out the whole market first. Swoop around the entire market before you buy what you need. Check out who has the best lettuce, whose beets look good this week and which vendor has great looking carrots.
- Plan a menu out of what is available and in-season. Let the market tell you what is on your menu.
- Show up, especially in the rain. Vendors will still be there!
- Follow your favorite farmers’ market(s) on social media and sign up for their newsletter. Get the latest updates and find out what is on special for the week.
With these tips, you are sure to have the best possible experience at your favorite farmers’ markets.
Kara Mallon gave a bit of insight on the Plymouth Farmers’ Market. She said the market offers local produce, activities, music and demonstrations. You can talk with the people that make or grow your food and get a connection to your food. The market is held at Plimouth Plantation every Thursday from June to October at 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. rain or shine. Over 15 farmers/fishermen and 25 local artisans sell at the Plymouth Farmers’ Market. In addition, the market has a “culinary insights” program in which local chefs do demonstrations with ingredients from the market. The program allows chefs, vendors and the community to form a close relationship.
The second presenter at the Locavore meeting was Plato’s Harvest Organic Farm owner Dave Purpura. The farm, which is in Middleboro, Mass., grows certified organic produce and raises chicken, eggs, pork, turkey and beef.
The third presenter, Jenny Healy from Jenny’s Bread, said she and all the vendors take pride in what they do. She talks about the market all the time, everywhere she goes.
If you take a trip to the Plymouth Farmers’ Market, I suggest visiting Dave for some organic produce and Jenny for some warm chocolate buns!
Don’t know all of the farmers’ markets in your area, or the days and times they are open? No problem! edible South Shore & South Coast has a farmers’ market listing in the back of their magazine as well as on their website at www.ediblesouthshore.com/farmers-markets/farmers-markets-current/.
Note: The next South Shore Locavores meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on May 21st at the Kingston Council on Aging. We will be talking about “Pastured Pork and Loving Lard.” Hope to see you there!
Katherine Blessis, an intern at edible South Shore & South Coast, is a junior at Stonehill College in North Easton, MA. She will graduate in 2016 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Business. Katherine is from Granby, CT, where she lives with her mother, father, sister and cats Max, May and Callie. Katherine is interested in public relations, communications, marketing, journalism, health, fitness and all things food related. Outside of school, Katherine enjoys cooking, soccer, hiking and travel. To contact Katherine, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out her food Instagram @katbfoodie!