Eat Fresh: Go to a Farmer’s Market

You probably hear it all the time: you need to get (or stay) healthy, it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself, etc. Sometimes when you enjoy food it can be hard – not to say we all eat too much, just that some of the best tasting foods are not necessarily the best things for you, health wise.

But there are plenty of ways to make food that’s healthy for you taste amazing, too! And the best way you can do that is the same way the top restaurants around the country: by using the freshest ingredients possible.

Many chefs work hard to cultivate beneficial relationships with farmers in order to get the best meats, produce, vegetables, and other items to stock their fridges and pantries. What about the rest of us, who don’t have the backing of a fancy kitchen and large orders behind us?

Relax! Spokane has an amazing farmer’s market with over 25 regular vendors. Located in downtown Spokane, the market runs Wednesdays and Saturdays from May through October. If those times don’t work for you, there are plenty of others! There’s the Fairwood Farmers’ Market on Tuesday afternoons; the Kendall Night Market, also on Wednesdays but open later; The Thursday Market in the South Perry District; then on Friday afternoons, you’ve got Emerson Garfield Farmer’s Market. Liberty Lake operates on Saturdays. There are plenty more, too, you just have to look online or in your neighborhood and you’re bound to find one.

Before you run off to the next farmer’s market, here are some tips to be sure you come home with a good haul:

First things first, before you go, look online and see what types of vendors will be there. If you’re looking for certified organic fruits and vegetables, you can check in advance to see if there will be any organic farmers attending. If you’re looking for meat or flowers, check availability beforehand and you’ll be sure not to leave empty handed.

Next, be flexible. You might want a specific type of apple only to find out it isn’t in season anymore. Talk to the farmers and explain what you’re looking for. There might be a substitute they can offer. And if you enjoyed what you purchased, remember to let the grower know when you go back!

Also, don’t be afraid to buy in bulk. There are plenty of options to make your farmer’s market items last: think about freezing, canning, or drying items so that you can enjoy your purchases long after the growing season is over. Another great idea is to bring family and friends along so that you can purchase items that you all need together—you can get a bulk purchase price but without the actual bulk after dividing it among yourselves.

Lastly, don’t expect everyone to have a credit card option. Some do and some don’t, because using credit cards often cuts into their already thin profit margin. Bring some cash with you. The vendors will appreciate it!

Late spring through early fall is a great time to be out and about in Spokane. Take a few nice days to explore a farmers’ market and your next home cooked meal will be both fabulous and healthy.