Pittsburgh

Going to the Farmer’s Market? Read This First.

By  | 

Going to the Farmer’s Market? Read This First.

As a millennial, I tend to feel the indirect pressure from my peers to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. This means buying organic fruits and vegetables, drinking lots of lemon water, and spending an absurd amount of money on fresh pressed juices, and then sharing all of these things with my many “friends” on my carefully curated Instagram. All that being said, I have never actually been to a local farmers market. Sure, I’ve blown through them in Market Square, anytime I’ve been running around downtown, but I have never really stopped to smell the fresh cut flowers and local produce.

A few weeks ago, I was presented with the opportunity to accompany renowned local chef, Derek Stevens, of Union Standard fame, to peruse the Market Square farmers market, and report back to all of you on my findings. HELL YES.

So before I met up with Chef Stevens, I did a lap around the market to get a feel for what was going on and who was offering what. Oh the things I’ve been missing; fresh fruits and vegetables, tomato plants, local meats, cheeses and hummus, herbs, spices, pies, and even some freshly canned Bloody Mary mix. Again I say, HELL YES.

After meeting up with my self-appointed tour guide, I finally got some tremendous insider information, PRO TIPS GUYS! First and foremost: try and bring a cooler with you if you plan on stocking up on a few things; it’s hot and you want to keep your findings fresh. Next, don’t go into any farmer’s market with a specific plan or meal plans for the week, or “you may be disappointed”. You need to do a circle around the entire market to see what they have available; they might not have a particular item that you’re counting on for your specific recipe.

Some farmers stands may have nicer strawberries than another, some may boast an organic promise, and you could be completely surprised by the gorgeous quality of another farmers’ asparagus. Always go in with an open mind, take a step back, and really enjoy where you are and what’s going on around you. The farmer’s market season is fleeting so we need to enjoy them while they’re around!

Since the market season really only lasts spring through fall, and sometimes it’s difficult finding time to make a special trip, I asked Chef Stevens what the next best option was for finding fresh local product. Ever heard of CSA? Me neither. Community Supported Agriculture is a convenient way to buy and support your local farms; it’s a subscription service that sends boxes of fresh local fruits, vegetables, honey, herbs, etc. right to your front door.

Thinking about freezing your vegetables for later use? Think again. Since vegetables are mostly comprised of water, freezing them and then thawing them for later use breaks down the vegetable rendering it limp and less tasty. You can really tell with most vegetables by their vibrant color, and size whether or not they’re worth purchasing.

Luckily, since everything down at the farmers market is fresh and locally grown, it all looks beyond amazing! So skip the grocery store, and try to make it down to either Market Square, or any other local farmers market this summer, and enjoy the taste of locally grown love.