In most communities you will be able to find a farmer’s market where you can get local produce. Even out of season, some markets can remain open to offer some decent products. So if you are on the hunt for some ingredients then it is best to visit the markets as early in the day as possible for the best selection.
I know from experience that it is first come first served. You might have seen something the week before that you had your heart set on having for the coming weekend and you arrive at the market to find that they are sold out.
Make a list, but be flexible
Planning a menu and making your shopping list and heading out to gather what you need are fun parts of preparing a meal. Your list should be flexible when shopping at farmer’s markets. Keep in mind a few substitutes that will work with your menu so that if you cannot find a particular product on your list you have a back up. This also adds to the thrill of the hunt so to speak and keeps disappointment at a minimum.
I travel quite a bit to find all the ingredients that I need to prepare some of my meals. Everywhere I go I make mental notes on products that I might not have seen at other places. So when I might actually need that product, I know where to find it.
It is easy to over-buy at the farmer’s market; everything looks so delicious and fresh. Buying fresh is best when you prepare and consume the products within a day or so of purchase. This will give you the best flavors and retain more of the vitamins and nutrients. So, as a rule of thumb, if you can’t use the product in the coming 3-4 days then don’t buy it.