06/10/2016 05:22 EDT | Updated 06/11/2017 05:12 EDT

7 Tips To Mastering Your Local Farmer's Market

The Washington Post via Getty Images
TEMPLE HILLS, MD - MAY 4, Alex True sorted through green beans at a newly started farmer's market in Temple Hills, Maryland on May 4, 2016. The area has been designated a 'food desert,' and Catholic Charities has aligned with Miller Farms to sell fresh produce there once a week. True works with Miller Farms and runs 5 farmer's markets a week throughout the area. (Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post via Getty Images)


Photo Credit: Style Me Pretty

I love spending a good morning at the Farmer's Market.

Not only is it fun to walk through colourful stalls of produce, flowers, and baked goods, it's a great way to support local farmers and stock up on wholesome ingredients. There always seems to be a new ingredient or product I haven't tried and I love getting to know the local vendors and businesses that work so hard to help us get fresh, delicious food on our plates! There really is nothing like fresh ingredients to really add that extra touch to a home cooked meal.

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If you find the prospect of going to the farmer's market a bit overwhelming, here are my 7 tips to make the most out of your experience and navigate the market like a pro.

1. Perfect your timing.

Arriving early means that you can have first dibs on what you want and avoid the mid-day crowd. Heading out at the end of the day, on the other hand, might give you a chance to snag some deals on leftover produce that the farmer would rather sell than take home.

2. Be prepared.

Most vendors only take cash, so be sure to bring enough! Also, bring a reusable shopping bag or tote so you won't need to use plastic ones.

3. Browse first.

Before diving into your purchases, do an initial browse-through to compare prices and make a mental checklist of what you plan to buy.

4. Get to know your grower.

Chat with the farmers and ask questions about how they grow their food. They may even have a tip or two on how to prepare certain ingredients. They can also give you a heads-up on what food will be in-season next.

5. Be creative.

Be open to trying an exotic veggie that you've never eaten before and experiment in the kitchen. Farmer's market purchases are a great way get adventurous with foods that are in season.

6. Check out the food scene.

Farmer's markets offer up more than just produce. Stop by local vendors selling goodies like honey, freshly baked bread, eggs and cheese.

7. Make it a family (or friend) affair!

A trip to the farmer's market is a fun experience as much as it is a productive grocery stop. Plan a trip to the market with your friends and family as an opportunity to spend time together and dream up dishes to make from all the things you buy.

So grab your favourite tote bag and out the door you go!

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