I am psyched. Warmer months brings local, peak produce. Peak produce means tastier, and yes, more nutrient dense food. Produce is picked when ripe and there is very little transit time.The Vancouver Farmer’s Markets kick off beginning of May into mid May and neighbourhood streets will be bustling with vendors and shoppers. There’s not a better way to eat healthier while supporting our community. The Yaletown market starts Thursday, May 7; Trout Lake May 9; Kitts and West End May 10. For a full list of the where and whens, directions and events check out: http://eatlocal.org/
Here are my best tips for navigating your favourite market;
- Go Prepared
Some farmers markets still don’t take credit cards, so stop by the ATM for cash on the way. Bring your own shopping bags,too. I’m a lover of these easy to stash roll away bags.
Some say to get there early for the best produce; I find this applies most often to limited edition prepared foods, like home -made salsas, breads, or boutique cheeses. Most produce will last all day, so don’t let a late start stop you from going.
Produce at the farmers market is not necessarily organic produce. Local pesticides are just as toxic, so go for the certified organics farms, or a reputable local farmer who uses organic methods. The organic certification process is costly and takes a lot of time, and many small farmers can’t afford the process. My test; if the produce looks too perfect, it’s most likely sprayed.
- Shop Colours
Go for a broad range of colours in your bag to ensure a broad range of phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are found in the various colours in our foods, and will help to balance nutrition and sweep our systems of free radicals. Help with Anti-aging and sun protection.
- Keep It Fresh
It’s easy to get carried away but try to only buy what you need as that’s the beauty. There is different flavours every week. But just in case you are like me and tend to go overboard:
-Freeze extra berries or fruits for another day. (Wash, dry flat on a baking sheet and then freeze). I love this as in winter I never have to buy berries for my smoothies.
– Large reusable bags with shoulder straps are the best to bop around the markets with. fresh bags really do keep produce fresher longer. Using an enzymatic method, they are safe to use. This is important for tender greens.
-Cook some fresh tomato sauce and freeze the extra, or blend a batch of gazpacho to last for days.
-Use extra cucumbers for soups, juice, and smoothies. Hello gorgeous glowing skin.