Chef Tips for Navigating the Farmer’s Market
The full bounty of summer is available at farmer’s markets across the city, but navigating them can be overwhelming. Chef Ginger Pierce, Executive Chef at Jams, gives her tips to shopping like a pro:
BE THE EARLY BIRD
Get first pick of the best goods, beat the primetime crowds and lines, and catch the farmers while they’re still fresh by arriving as early as possible.
SNAG A BARGAIN
Farmers often mark down or even give produce away at the end of the day. Some produce like herbs or lettuce must be sold the same day, giving you the opportunity for great deals.
FOLLOW THE CHEFS
If someone seems to be buying a lot of a certain item, like 18 bunches of asparagus, they are likely from a local restaurant. Keep an eye on what these chefs are buying for the best finds.
FARMER KNOWS BEST
Farmers are a great resource about what’s in season and what’s best to buy at any given time.
FOLLOW YOUR NOSE
Figuring out what blemishes are a deal breaker can be intimidating, but it’s mostly intuitive. If a vegetable is hard, it should feel the same density all over. If it feels soft in some parts and firm in others, it’s not the one for you.
DITCH YOUR RECIPE
If you are shopping for a recipe that includes an ingredient that’s not available or doesn’t look great, change it. Often you can find a suitable substitution that’s even better. This is your opportunity to hit up your friendly farmer for advice!