How To Shop At A Farmer’s Market On A Diet

shop farmers market dietYou know that healthy food is most likely the freshest food that you can find.

While frozen and canned foods can be healthy, it’s best to eat the least processed food available.  One way to do that is to go to your local farmer’s market while fresh fruits and vegetables are in season. Learning what to choose while you are at the farmer’s market based on your particular dietary restrictions is the part that will help you to see the greatest benefit from these events.

1.  Find a local farmer’s market  Go to Local Harvest or USDA to find a listing of the ones in your area.  That is just a start, but knowing where to go can help you find the best food in your area.  If by chance you don’t have one in your area, check with your local COOP agency to see if you can get food from farmer’s through their system.  You could also check with your local chamber of commerce to see if any farmer’s markets are registered with them.  You may need to be aware of the time of year – most don’t operate year round.

2.  Once you find out where your local farmers market is located, and when (most operate on 1-2 days a week), then you can plan to stop by and see what they have.  You should take 2 things: cash and your own bags.  Most of the merchants don’t take credit cards, although that could change with the ease of using your smartphone to make transactions, but my experience is that they don’t take checks or credit cards.  You also may only want to try something so you will make several small transactions which are easier to do with cash.  Bringing your own bags helps you be “greener” and it makes it easier to carry all the items you pick up.  Most of the time the merchants have bags, but they may be the lightweight ones or plastic ones, and you can carry much more in the cloth type bags.  (Note: Wash your cloth bags on a regular basis so you don’t carry around contaminated bags).  Your first time will probably be a bunch of smaller purchases but once you know what they have you can buy more.

3.  Local food = the freshest possible foods!  When food is sold by the farmer, you are not paying for markups in the grocery store, nor is it transported from other states.  It is grown there and only travels a few miles to the market.  Then you are saving the environment as well.  But you are also getting fresh food, and it has the most nutrients when it’s fresh.  You are getting the most nutritious and healthy foods available.  You are also buying the foods in season, which I will talk about tomorrow, and you get the foods that are cheapest.  It’s not natural for nectarines to be in season in January, so wait till the summer and buy them at the farmer’s market.

These tips should get you started on the right track to choosing a farmer’s market to attend and what to bring with you.  Tomorrow I will talk about three more reasons to shop at a local market when you are following a diabetic, renal or cardiac diet.

Let me know what your experiences are with local farmer’s markets down below, please!  And if you want to know more about how to use the food you get at the farmer’s market, check out our meal plans for diabetic, cardiac and renal diets.

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About Mathea

Mathea Ford, RD/LD, is the owner of Healthy Diet Menus For You, LLC. She has over 22 books on Amazon, check out her work at

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