How to Pick the Best Produce at the Farmers Market

Lifestyle | Jul 15, 2019


Fresh vegetables on a table at a farmers market.
Fresh vegetables on a table at a farmers market.

No matter where you are, you are never that far from a local farmers market. Think places like the Farmers Market at Highlands Square in Denver, Austin’s Texas Farmers’ Market at Mueller, and the mother of them all: the Pike Place Market in Seattle.

But, between poking, thumping, smelling, squishing, tapping, and squeezing, how do you ensure your farmers market trip yields the best-tasting goodies? Here are a few tips to help you out.

First, the basics:

– Look for fruit and veggies that have a nice deep color to them.

– Give the produce a smell. If it smells fresh and characteristic of the fruit or veggie, it’s a keeper. If it smells off, put it back.

– If there’s a cut end on the produce, make sure it’s the same color as the outside. A darker cut end means it’s been sitting out for a while

– Bonus suggestion: Go with reusable bags. They’re stronger, better for the environment, and a great way to tote your produce around.

Now, on to the specifics:

Blueberries:Women walking through a local farmers market. Go for berries that are firm and blue (as opposed to green), and keep an eye out for berries that are smooshed or cracked. They should also have a white film on them.

Watermelon: You want a watermelon that’s firm and heavy in your hands. The surface of the rind should be smooth and slightly dull. Lastly, make sure it has a yellow spot somewhere to mark where it sat on the ground as it ripened.

Strawberries: Look for berries with a uniform color, and pay attention to the green leaves. If they look fresh and vibrant, go for it. If they’re starting to wilt, look elsewhere.

Apples: Apples are best in late summer/early fall. The good ones feel heavy for their size, are firm, and have a good, deep color.

Cauliflower: Despite the name, if it has flowers, spots, or yellowing, leave it behind. You want cream colored heads that are tightly packed.

Greens: Kale, spinach, mustard greens, chard, collards, and other greens should be crisp, and have a deep color to them