Get the most out of the farmers market

May 14, 2009 9:07:48 AM PDT
You're already saving the planet when you're shopping at the greenmarket. Transporting your food across the country (and the world) expends a lot of fuel. You're also supporting small local businesses. The key to making the greenmarket save you some green, too, is maximizing what you buy and shopping smart. We have some tips below:

  • Store food correctly. The number one way to save money is to use everything you buy. Lots of people overbuy and then aren't sure how to use what's left, or keep it from spoiling. For instance, many people are unaware that warm weather fruits like tomatoes shouldn't go in the fridge -- it actually makes them spoil faster. Keep perishables like milk and eggs out of the refrigerator door. It's the warmest part of the fridge, and they'll last much longer kept cooler at the bottom of the fridge
  • Plan your menu or menus ahead of time, or remain flexible. You'll wind up wasting time, but also money, by purchasing things at random and trying to fit them into a meal later. A little bit of forethought (and a list) really helps, and in place of that, flexibility is key.
  • Buy what's in season. The very first crop of asparagus every year is in high demand and only produced by one or two farmers at any given market. This drives up prices. Buy only what's well in season. The competition tends to keep the price more reasonable. To find out what the market has that time of year, we've created a handy guide to greenmarkets state-by-state and what's in season month-by-month:
    http://www.epicurious.com/
  • Talk to the farmer. Often, the farmer can identify when the food you're buying will be at its ripest or best flavor, and the last day you should eat it. He or she can also offer recipe tips, and tell you how to store it to make it last the longest. In many cases, they'll appreciate your interest and go out of their way to help you.
  • Bring your quarters. On busy weekend days, Farmers often run low on change. Buying with quarters may in some cases convince a grateful farmer to throw something in for free or shave a little bit off the price. But this is far from foolproof -- and definitely don't expect it!
  • Challenge yourself. If you want to have fun with it, set yourself a limit ($20 for dinner for four?) and head to the farmer's market. Collect ingredients that look great and use them to prepare your meal. Not only does this force you to budget, it's almost like being on Hell's Kitchen or Top Chef.

Tanya will prepare the Raspberry-Nectarine Parfaits with Warm Peach Sabayon. Other dishes will be displayed.

All of the recipes are as follows:
Corn, Cheese & Chili Tamales with Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa
Cheese and Shrimp-stuffed Roasted Poblanos with Red Bell Pepper Sauce
Grilled Fish Tacos
Raspberry-Nectarine Parfaits with Warm Peach Sabayon

About Tanya Wenman Steel

Tanya Wenman Steel is Editor-in-Chief of the award-winning Epicurious.com, CondéNet's premier food Web site. This site incorporates articles and recipes from renowned food, drink, and style authorities around the world.

Prior to joining Epicurious.com, Ms. Steel was the New York Editor of Bon Appétit magazine for ten years. In addition to running the New York branch office, she wrote and edited columns and features, including the monthly "Restaurant Reporter." She was the founding columnist for "Starters" and was the longtime author of the annual "How America Eats Survey" and the "American Food and Entertaining Awards" articles.

Ms. Steel won the prestigious James Beard Foundation Journalism Award for Magazine Restaurant Review or Critique, 2003. She is a member of the American Society of Magazine Editors and a James Beard Restaurant Judge. She has been in the publishing industry for 20 years. Prior to Bon Appétit, she was an editor at Diversion, Food & Wine, and Mademoiselle. Ms. Steel has also written extensively for many other publications, including The New York Times, New York Magazine, Travel & Leisure, Child, McCall's, Nick Jr., and Cosmopolitan.

Ms. Steel frequently appears on television as an epicurean authority and has appeared numerous times on the Today Show, Weekend Today, and Today in New York, as well as Good Morning America, The Early Show, CNN, MSNBC, Fox, the Food Network, Iron Chef, Master Chef, Inside Edition, Access Hollywood, QVC, ABC News Now, Live at Five, New York Live, and other national shows. She has also done countless media satellite tours.

Ms. Steel has a bachelor's degree in English from the New School University. She is the coauthor of Real Food for Real Kids, to be published by HarperCollins in the fall of 2008. Born in London, Steel grew up in New York City and now resides in Westchester with her husband, a history teacher, and identical twin boys.

Farm-to-Table Dining Made Easier as Epicurious.com Tours U.S. Farmers' Markets

Epicurious.com is hitting the road to visit farmers' markets across the United States and help make farm-to-table dining simpler?and a better value--for Americans. In five major city greenmarkets, Epicurious.com editors will give away a full menu of recipes printed on reusable cards, based on ingredients that will be in season in that market, such as figs and summer squash in San Francisco, peppers and blueberries in Portland, tomatillos and nectarines in Chicago, corn and cucumbers in Philadelphia, and apples and chard in New York.

Epicourious.com will set up shop in the Daley Plaza on Thursday, August 14 starting at 7 am. Visitors to the farmers' market will receive for free greenmarket shopping and cooking tips, recipes and shopping lists printed on TasteBook recipe cards, and Bertolli Premium Pasta Sauce and recipes, all within an eco-friendly Epicurious tote bag.

"As Americans become more environmentally conscious, many of us look for ways to shrink our carbon footprint. One great way to go green is to support local farmers," according to Tanya Steel, editor in chief of Epicurious.com. "However, our readers tell us how challenging it can be to put together an entire meal using local ingredients, so Epicurious is touring the country's Farmers' Markets to offer inspiration and tips for eco-minded cooks of all levels."

For more information, visit: http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/seasonalcooking/farmtotable/farmersmarketmenus

Epicurious.com, a CondéNet site, is a premier multi-award-winning food Web site, which incorporates more than 25,000 professionally tested recipes from the premier brands in food journalism, 60,000 member-submitted recipes, and web-exclusive original content from Epicurious.com editors and leading food authorities around the world.


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