5 Tips for Farmers Market Shopping in Vancouver
Farmers market season has arrived in Vancouver and what better way to spend a few hours than stocking up on healthy, local food while supporting BC producers!
If you’re looking for a market near you, check out the Vancouver Farmers Markets website for a handy listing of locations and times for six weekly farmers markets around Vancouver. There are other markets in addition to these six, so watch for posters around your community or search online if you’re looking for something closer to home.
Before you head out, here are 5 tips to make your farmers market shopping experience a success:
- Go early. For the best produce and widest selection, be sure to hit the market as early as you can. It isn’t uncommon for vendors to sell out before the market officially closes and the last thing you want is to arrive late and find that the asparagus you planned to cook for dinner are all gone.
- Make a shopping list. When stalls are brimming with crisp vegetables, perfectly ripe fruit and bread fresh from the oven, it’s easy to go overboard in your purchases. The best way to avoid this is to come prepared with a shopping list and stick to it. Then again, life is too short not to splurge on a jar of homemade cherry jam or handcrafted chocolates from time to time, so don’t feel bad if you go a little off plan.
- Bring cash. Access to ATMs and facilities for paying by debit or credit vary from market to market. Your safest bet? Avoid the possibility of going home empty-handed and just bring cash.
- Bring your own bags and a cooler with ice packs. We all know it’s better for the environment to avoid disposable shopping bags, so remember to toss a few reusable bags in your purse or pocket when you head for the market. This also helps the vendors, as they can reduce their costs by not providing plastic bags. If you plan to buy any perishable items like fish, meat or cheese, be sure to bring a cooler with ice packs to ensure that your purchases stay cold on the journey home.
- Savour the bounty. If you’re a BC local, you should already be aware of the incredible fresh food produced at farms, orchards and artisan kitchens around the province. If you’re new in town and planning your first visit to a farmers market, then you’re in for a treat. Those juicy tomatoes and plump strawberries taste that much better when you know they were picked earlier in the day somewhere nearby. It is such a luxury to have top-quality local produce available just down the road from where you live, so enjoy what’s in season while you can.
And one bonus tip: with so many delicious products on offer, you might end up spending more time at the farmers market than expected, so be sure to bring some water and apply sunscreen to protect yourself from the blazing summer sun.
Whether you zip through to pick up some last-minute ingredients for dinner or wander slowly among the stalls with a coffee in hand, visiting your local farmers market is one Vancouver summer tradition you don’t want to miss!