I get this question a lot… since Colin is a chef, does he cook for you?! Short answer, no. Long answer, noooooo! I hope I didn’t ruin anyone’s dreams of dating a chef. The real answer is that he’s in the kitchen up to 12 hours a day, so the last thing he wants to do is be in a kitchen again when he’s home. The only time I get to experience his true cooking is at the restuarant he works at. Like a total stalker, I sit at the chef’s counter (thank goodness for the open kitchen concept!) and stare. Outside of this, we actually eat out a lot. And I love love eating with Colin! He pays attention to the smallest detail and his love of cooking and food just oozes out of his body. And similarly, I love going to the Farmer’s Market with him. His same enthusiasm and passion for food makes the whole experience so much fun. From this trip, we bought stone fruits, wheatgrass for the kitties, honey, cheese, and jams.
Since I learn so much from him, I thought it’d be fun to ask our resident chef his thoughts on Farmer’s Market shopping:
Colin here and I hope these tips are helpful. If you haven’t had a chance to visit your local Farmer’s Market, it’s definitely worth a try. Some of the perks include buying far better produce than at grocery stores, and it’s also a fun date idea. Not to mention, it’s a great way to support your local community.
1. Arrive early and have some cash handy! Although most of the stalls now do take credit card, it may vary from one farmer to another, so it doesn’t hurt to have cash when browsing.
2. Make sure to bring a few bags, or a boyfriend/husband, to carry your purchased items. You never know what you’ll see at the market and you may leave with more than you planned for.
3. Do a walk through first. As soon as I arrive at a Farmer’s Market, I do a walk through of the entire market and I start making mental notes of the vendors I definitely want to come back to. It’s a good way to scout out the vendors who carry my, I mean Wendy’s, favorite items.
4. Don’t skip a stall just because they’re selling the same items as the next one. Since each farm is located in different areas, climates, soil conditions, and uses different farming techniques, the outcomes of their crops will be different. Finding and choosing your favorite farm is all part of the fun.
5. For spring, I look for leafy greens, asparagus, dandelion greens, kohlrabi, green garlic, sunchokes, and certain turnips and parsnips, tats, and certain cactuses.
For summer, the most bountiful growing season, I look for tomatoes, eggplant, green beans, herbs, okra, peas, peppers, summer squash, berries, and artichokes.
For fall, my favorite season, I look for stone fruit, hard squashes, corn, rutabega, apples, jicama, salsify. Sweet potatoes, and brussel sprouts.
For winter, the harshest season, I look for hearty produce that can withstand brutal growing conditions (for seafood lovers, this is the best time). Most restaurants will import their produce from warmer states during this time. Spinach, sprouts, certain mushrooms, scallions, schallots, potatoes, onions, leeks, kale, fennel, garlic, collard greens, cabbage, bok choy, beets, and arugula are all types of foods that can withstand harsher growing conditions.
This is not a complete seasonal produce list and depending on the climate of your city or town, the seasonal growing period of these items can be shorten or extended.
6. It’s always great to strike up conversations with the farmers. I’m more of the shy type so I don’t always do it myself, but chatting with them is definitely a good way to get to know the farmer and his/her products better.
7. Don’t forget to inspect everything carefully. For fruits, vegetables, and herbs, I look out for bruising, discoloration, damages caused by insects, and/or transportation damages.
8. In addition to produce, I also love buying jams and flowers at the Farmer’s Market. Wendy wrote that. But I do like jams though.
Visiting the local Farmer’s Market is definitely one of my favorite things to do. The farmer’s love for his/her crop shows through their harvest, and I love seeing the fruits of their labor. As much as I would love to join you on your journey to the Farmer’s Market to help select the ripest fruits and vegetables, I cannot. But I hope these tips were helpful and happy trekking!
Happy Wednesday everyone and thank you so much for reading! And special thanks to Nordstrom for partnering on this post!
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Union Square Greenmarket, NYCThank you so much for reading!