Farmers' markets are growing in popularity across the U.S.
But are their items really better than what you can find at the supermarket?
Supermarket guru Phil Lempert says a taste test is your first line of defense at a farmer's market.
“If there is someone who won't let you do it, don't buy from them; because they don't want you to taste it because you are going to see it's not very good. So taste first, talk to the farmer, see where it's grown, get a relationship going,” says Lempert.
Lempert says to never assume certified organic or even local.
Many farmers' market vendors use traditional organic farming methods, but aren't USDA certified.
“You've got to look behind that table, you've got to talk to the farmer and if it says they're organic on one of those handwritten signs on the cardboard box, ask to see their certification, by law they have to have their certificate there,” Lempert says.
Don't discount your local super market for fresh local produce.
“Every supermarket has both organic and conventional, has some local, but keep in mind - if it's in season, it's probably going to be local. This time of year, you re going to get great blueberries, and strawberries, and peaches and all that; but in January, you're not going to get those products that are local,” he continued.
For the best selection go to the farmers' market early. The best goods go first.
For the best deals, go late. Farmers and other vendors often discount products instead of carting them back home.
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