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Sunday Brunch: A How-To Guide on Farmers Market Shopping

Summer days in Seattle are best spent outside, whether it’s a picnic at the beach, spending time in our gardens, or taking the boat out on the Puget Sound; everything feels more relaxing. It’s also one of the best times of year to head to your local farmers market. With Labor Day and the end of the meteorological summer on August 31st, technically summer is over, but summer’s produce will still be bountiful for the next month or so. And Seattle farmers markets are filled to the brim with many different, local market finds year round. In honor of summer’s bountiful farmers markets here are a few tips and tricks to getting the most out of the market.


Forget the supermarket. Find beautiful bouquets at the Farmer's Market.

Bright, vibrant flowers at the largest Farmer’s Market in Seattle. Pikes Place Market.

My husband Rick and I like to use farmers markets to help us plan our meals for the week. We love strolling around, admiring all of the beautiful colors and freshly harvested produce. As a couple, how do you usually food plan for the week? Do you make a list and then go from there? Knowing what foods to buy organic and what foods to buy non-organic is a great starting point. I use the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists created by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). They are a great reference point of what absolutely needs to be organic and what doesn’t. The dirty dozen are the foods highest in pesticide residue and should (whenever possible) always be organic, while the clean fifteen are safe to eat in non-organic versions. These lists also help with meal budget planning. Products labeled organic tend to have a heftier price tag than those non-organic items. So, knowing ahead of time what absolutely has to be organic makes it easier to plan those shopping lists.

Farmer’s markets are the perfect place to source all of your local, organic needs!

Walla Walla Onions growing to be sold at the local market!

Walla Walla Onions growing to be sold at the local market!


With that said, shopping farmer’s markets makes the planning a little bit different. It goes a little something like this:


  1. Get there early!

Since the farmers themselves harvest everything, some products sell out. The local Ballard farmers market has some of the best farm fresh eggs. There is always a line to get them and they always sell out. If you snooze, you loose out on some of the seasons most delicious eggs.

2. Set your intention!

Stroll on down to the farmer’s market with the intention of buying fresh, organic, locally grown produce. (Bring your dirty dozen/clean fifteen lists with you)

3. Purchase fruits, vegetables and animal products that look fresh and inspiring.

4. When you get home, look at your produce and decide on recipes starring your finds.

5. Then make a list of supplemental ingredients to purchase at your local grocery store (clean fifteen ingredients can be bought here).


This is a little different than normal meal planning but using freshly harvested, local ingredients first will change the way you consume food for the better. Not to mention, who doesn’t love eating?


What are some of your Farmer’s Market tips? Share with us below.

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