Market Shopping Tips

Walk through the market before you buy. Walk the entire market, taking mental notes along the way, then decide what to purchase.

Take a few chances! Try something new or combine ingredients in a different way. Fill enchiladas with squash and eggplant and use fresh peaches in barbecue sauce.

Challenge yourself. Make a whole meal using only products you buy at the market.

Make a deal on scratch-and-dent produce. For sauces and many salads, slightly damaged fruits and vegetables are just fine.

Arrive early for specialty items. If you’re buying common items like sweet corn in mid-July, you don’t have to be there when the market opens. But for specialty items such as the pea and sunflower sprouts to use in salads and risotto, show up first.

Focus on quality rather than price. Instead of haggling over every item, focus on quality and building a relationship with the farmer. “Better to pay a quarter more for nicer produce or a better relationship with a vendor.”

Make good relationships to get better products. Get to know a farmer, and you can ask about what’s coming into season, what is at its peak of flavor and for something special to be grown for you. And you can comfortably give feedback on a product.

Ask for samples. Most farmers are willing to let you try before you buy.

If you don’t see something, ask. Maybe the farmer can tell you who has that product or when it will be available. Farmers markets are food communities.

Bring your own bags. Or else you can buy a Taos Farmers Market canvas bag or Ghana basket at the info booth!