This Saturday marks the season opening of the St. Paul Farmers Market, so clear out the pantry and make some room in the crisper as you get ready to stock up on some of the best seasonal and local produce. Not only does a trip to the farmers market turn the perhaps tedious routine of weekly grocery shopping into a fun weekend excursion, but you’ll walk away with fresh fruits and vegetables at a fraction of the price you’ll find at the supermarket and newly fostered sense of community.
Locavores will bask in the fact that every farmer and producer selling at St. Paul’s downtown location comes from within a 75-mile radius of the city and boast organic, hormone-free and artisan goods. And doesn’t it just feel better to buy local?
Though the labyrinth of flowers stands, asparagus and green onion gardens and radish and rhubarb dens can seem daunting at first, don’t get overwhelmed by the bombardment of local. Make the farmers market a regular stop on your weekend to-do list, and soon you’ll be navigating like a pro with bags of healthy ingredients in tow.
Here are a few helpful tips to keep your farmers market experience a shrewd and happy one:
- Go Early: You know what they say about the early bird and it’s definitely true when it comes to the farmers market. By going early you can avoid heavy crowds and find the best selection.
- Survey the Lay of the Land: Size up what’s on hand by starting with a walk-through. The first stand you see might not always be your best bet. Stroll through the entire market before settling on your favorite goods. Visit the St. Paul Farmers Market’s webpage before you go to find out what’s in season and what vendors will be present.
- Bring Cash: Though it’s more common than it used to be with the addition of iPhones, not every vendor takes plastic, so make sure you have cash in your wallet or make a quick stop at the ATM before hand.
- Bring Your Own Bags: This isn’t necessarily a must, but most likely you have a cupboard stuffed with past grocery or canvas bags, might as well put them to good use – plus, it’s better for the environment.
- Ask a Farmer: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The vendors are proud of their stock and most likely can’t wait to answer questions about their growing practices and shell out tips on how to best prepare their produce. Take full advantage of their knowledge.
- Buy in Bulk: Skip the excess packages, the best deals are found in bulk.
- Don’t Forget the Flowers: Some of the most beautiful floral arrangements are DIY, so don’t skip over the local flower section and after a long day at work, coming home to a nice flower-filled house will definitely fill you with bliss.
290 5th Street East
St. Paul MN