Food & Entertaining - In Season

Become a savvy farmer's market shopper

Indulge in a variety of local fruits and veggies as they become available

When you arrive

Take a walk-about before you start buying:
Circle the market to see what's available, what looks fantastic and who has the best price.

Buy the heavy stuff first: That way you won't squash the tomatoes when you put your muskmelon on top.

Experiment with different seasonal produce: I let the market dictate what we'll be eating that week. Tonight's produce is corn on the cob, sliced heirloom tomatoes with goat cheese, baby cucumber salad and muskmelon with blueberries for dessert.

Don't get caught up in the frenzy of over-buying: Even though properly stored farm fresh produce does last longer, it will go bad. Remember there's always next week.

Become a regular, but don't forget to try other markets: Some have local cheeses, honey, butter tarts, flowers, meats and fresh eggs.

Not sure if the guy selling the produce is the real deal?
Check out to see if the farmer has his own labels on the baskets: Real farmers pay money to label baskets or bags.

Farm plates: Check out the trucks for farm license plates. They are the real deal.

Create a relationship with the farmer:
I love chatting with my heirloom tomato guy from Thiessen Farms, Jordan Station, Ont. The day they appear I am in love apple heaven. Like all real farmers he knows about the variety he's selling, tips on storage, handling and serving ideas.

Getting in touch with the flavours of the season is an experience not to be missed. Farmers, the environment and your good health all come out as winners when you frequent your local market.

Mairlyn Smith is a home economist and co-author of the best-selling nutrition/cookbook Ultimate Foods for Ultimate Health and don't forget the chocolate! with dietician Liz Pearson.



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