Have you ever wondered how to incorporate certain fruits and vegetables into meals? Or how your local produce is grown? If so, ask a local farmer! Part of doubling up on your produce involves getting to know the local farmers to ensure you are getting the best bang for your food buck. Here are some of the questions to ask during your next visit to the farmers market:

How do I cook this?

Sometimes produce stands at farmers markets carry produce you are unfamiliar with. Don’t be afraid to explore new items and ask how to prepare your produce. You can also ask about the other food items the produce can be paired with. This way, you can successfully experiment with locally-grown produce. In the process, you could stumble upon a new favorite fruit or veggie!

How is your produce grown?

Knowing where your produce comes from can help you choose which fruits and vegetables to buy, and help you develop a better understanding of how the food you eat travels from the fields to your fork. Farmers are happy to explain what methods they use, and they might even welcome you to visit their farm. Even if the vendor seems busy, they will more than likely still answer your questions.

How long ago was it harvested?

It’s a great idea to ask your local farmers how long ago the produce was harvested to ensure you are getting the freshest items. It’s also important to ask when the produce will be ripest; this will let you know when it’s the perfect time to use your fruits and veggies. Many farmers will also offer end-of-day discounts so they don’t have to bring produce back with them, so this is a great time to stretch your food bucks even further! 

What is your name?

Even if you don’t have questions about your food, take the time to get to know your local farmers. This can be an important step in cultivating a stronger food system and community. You can ask about why they got into farming, or how the previous growing season went. If you have purchased produce from them before, express your support for their farming efforts.

Asking local farmers questions is a great way to make you an expert shopper at the farmers market and show your support for local agriculture. If you have any other curiosities, be sure to ask away! Your local growers will be happy to answer any other questions you have to help you get the most out of your Double Up Food Bucks.