What To Buy At A Farmers Market: 12 Must-Have Foods!

What To Buy At A Farmers Market: 12 Must-Have Foods!

There is nothing more satisfying than a meal created from your own garden, or with ingredients sourced from your local community. We may not have time to harvest our own produce, but we always make time to shop locally, especially during farmer’s market season. 
 
If you find yourself overwhelmed or unsure what to buy at a farmers market, we’re here to help. Today we’re sharing what things you should snag next time you decide to shop local. 
Man and woman using Dorai Dish Pad

Where to Find Your Local Farmer's Market 

Sometimes the best local markets can be off the beaten path. Our favorite is the Wheeler Farm Market on Sundays, which is much smaller and less known than the downtown SLC Farmers Market (making it more relaxing in our opinion). 

Check with your city’s local events page or Google ‘farmers markets in your city’. You can also avoid the hectic weekend rush by looking up farms in your area that often sell fresh products on their property for reasonable prices. We suggest grabbing an iced coffee and visiting a few different markets over the summer to find your favorite that carries items you’re looking for and good prices.

Are Local Farmers Markets Cheaper Than Grocery Stores?

When considering what to buy at a farmers market versus a grocery store, the question of cost no doubt comes up. While some products may have a higher price tag due to their quality and the sustainable methods used to grow them, you'll often find that many farmers market finds are competitively priced or even cheaper. 

The value also comes from the freshness and nutrient density of seasonal produce, which can lead to better health and less food waste. So while not always cheaper than your local grocery store, farmers markets will offer you immense value for the price.


Man and woman in kitchen

What to Buy at Farmers Markets

If we’re being honest, as creatures of habit, introducing a new grocery routine can be intimidating. There are so many interesting ingredients available when you shop locally so ask vendors questions and you’ll find what works best for your lifestyle. 
 
Since most produce at farmers markets are from the area and quick to sell, you can expect them to be harvested more recently than a grocery store. Not only does this enhance the flavor but also improves the nutrition profile! 
 
No wonder those fresh summer peaches taste so good, they are packed with more vitamin C, A and E than those found in the store. What’s even better is the majority of small, local farms (at least those here in Utah) follow organic farming methods and don’t use pesticides, even if they don’t have an official certification. 
 
With all these reasons in mind, here is our personal list of what to buy at a farmers market:

Tomatoes

Tomatoes at the farmers market are usually a great price and way more flavorful than those bought at the grocery store. You’ll find them bursting with juiciness and packed with-ripened sweetness. As one of our favorite farmers market finds, they’re perfect for salads, sauces, or enjoying on their own.

 

Carrots

From orange to purple, you’ll find carrots in all shapes, colors, and sizes! Their crisp texture and sweet taste make them versatile for both raw snacking and cooking. Be sure to look out specifically for heirloom varieties that your local supermarket carrots can’t match.

Berries

Perfect for morning smoothies, desserts, or just by the handful, you can’t go wrong with berries. Unlike their supermarket counterparts, these farmers market essentials promise unmatched freshness and taste. Berries have a short life span so get them while they are fresh. 

 

Grass-fed Meats

Grass fed and grass finished beef is usually available and can be hard to come by at conventional grocery stores. They offer profound benefits not just for your health but for the environment, too. Sourcing from local farmers ensures transparency and supports responsible farming practices.

Eggs

When thinking about what to buy at a farmers market, you can’t forget this staple. Free range eggs bring a depth of a flavor that supermarket eggs can’t compete with. Can we talk about the flavor that comes through in local, amber yolk eggs?! They’re a revelation!

 

Honey

When sourced locally, honey is like a golden elixir of wellness. Did you know eating honey made by local bees can help with allergies? Because it carries the subtle flavors of your local flora, honey can help acclimate your immune system to regional allergens.

Peaches

Peaches are a must-have when it comes to what to buy at farmers markets. Try grilling them and topping with ice cream for a summer dessert. It’s a flavor bomb that’ll burst at the seams with the perfect mix of sweetness and acidity.

Squash

Try a new variety of squash that isn’t usually found in stores. From delicate patty pans to robust kabochas, these seasonal beauties offer a world of flavors and textures. You’ll broaden your culinary horizons and add some vibrant color and nutrition to your meals.  

 

Bread

Many vendors give samples to help in your decision-making, which is always a welcome treat. Artisanal bakers often use unique grains and methods that you can’t find at grocery stores. Whether it’s a crusty sourdough or a soft, herb-infused loaf, bread is definitely on our list of what to buy at a farmers market.

Mushrooms

If you’re looking to boost your nutrient intake, look no further than mushrooms. They’re packed with vitamin D and can bring umami flavor to all your dishes, especially the vegetarian ones.  From sautés to soups, they’re versatile additions to any farmer’s market grocery list.

 

Corn

We can’t get enough corn in the summer. Farmers markets no doubt offer you some of the freshest picks. Cook it in batches and create a summer salad with corn, beans, tomatoes and avocado. 

Apples

When thinking about what to buy at farmers markets, apples are a wise choice if you want to improve stomach health. Apples contain pectin, the type of fiber that acts as a prebiotic to help digestion. Have one before your next BBQ in your backyard oasis to keep your gut extra happy. 
 

What is the Most Popular Item at Farmers Markets?

While the bounty at farmers markets varies by season, one of the best things to buy at farmers markets in our opinion is fresh, locally grown produce. Among all of them, tomatoes often steal the show. 
 
As we said earlier, their vibrant colors, juicy texture, and depth of flavor surpass anything you might find on supermarket shelves. Tomatoes embody the essence of what to buy at a farmer’s market—ripe, seasonal, and cultivated with care. 
 
Whether eaten fresh, tossed in salads, or cooked into sauces, they’re no doubt a versatile favorite. You can’t go wrong with this standout choice for savoring the peak of garden freshness.

 

3 Farmers Market Shopping Tips

Wondering how to make your next farmers market visit fruitful, fun, and full of discovery? Here are 3 tips:

Go with a Plan in Mind 

Shopping locally takes a bit more thought and planning, but it’s worth it in the end! Make sure to check ahead online to see what to buy at a farmers market that’s in season.

From there, you can plan your menu and decide what items you need to pick up. Planning your meals helps you save money at the farmer’s market because you’ll know exactly which fruits and vegetables you need for each recipe. You’ll avoid overbuying foods and wasting money on produce you don’t need or can’t use.

Try New Ingredients

Deciding what to buy at a farmers market can open up a world of culinary adventure for you. Embrace the opportunity to try new ingredients not found in your typical grocery store. 

For starters, experimenting can lead to healthier eating habits. It can also lead to a greater appreciation for seasonal eating.  

From heirloom varieties of vegetables to unique herbs and fruits, these discoveries can inspire creativity in the kitchen. By incorporating fresh, unusual finds into your meals, you’ll get to enhance your dishes and enrich your diet with nutrient-rich options.

Come Hungry 

Some of our favorite picnics happen at our local markets. Come ready to sample and snag lunch from one of the vendors.

You’ll be amazed how many different cuisines are available and may be inspired to pick up ingredients to create your own. Be sure to bring a water bottle because it gets hot and don’t shy away from local kombucha on tap - one of our favorite beverages!  

We hope these tips and recommendations of what to buy at farmers markets not only make your mouth water but inspire you to shop local. Start making your farmer’s market a weekly destination for the healthiest and most flavorful summer ingredients!

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