Farmer’s Market Season is in Full Swing!

Tomatoes, peaches, and berries, oh my! Mid-summer is a paradise of fruits and vegetables. Maryland farms are growing tons of delicious, ripe fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruits and vegetables are often cheaper because they don’t have to be shipped in like they do in the winter. Summer is when these foods taste best. Now is the ideal time to add lots of fresh produce to your family’s diet.
Farmers’ markets are one of the best places to buy fresh, affordable food grown at nearby farms, often referred to as ‘local food’. Many markets accept SNAP and WIC benefits, and some even have programs that double your dollars when you spend your benefits on fruits and vegetables.
Shopping at the farmers’ market takes some planning because most markets are open one day a week. But the tastiness and low price of the healthy food makes it worth it!
Here are some tips to help you take advantage of the season’s best produce waiting for you at the farmers’ market:
  • Find the location and hours of the farmers’ market closest to your home or work. If the closest market isn’t open at a time you can make it, look for another market in the area with more convenient hours.
  • Find out if the market accepts SNAP or WIC benefits, or if they participate in any matching dollars programs. Using the find-a-market search, you can click on the benefit programs you participate in.
  • Put the market on your calendar every week. Plan your shopping for this day.
  • Bring the kids and make shopping a fun family outing rather than a chore. The market is full of bright colors and sunshine, and some markets have music or other entertainment.
  • Find out what foods will be available using this harvest calendar. Make a list of the items you want to buy. Depending on the weather, what’s available might vary, so be flexible.
  • Plan your meals for the week based on what you purchased at the market. Using the Eat Smart Recipe Search, search by ingredient by entering the names of fruits and vegetables you purchased. You’ll find delicious, affordable recipes you can prepare with your fresh, local produce. Write what you’ll make for dinner each day on your calendar.
  • Make a list of other staples you need to buy from the grocery store based on the meals you planned. Planning meals saves money and cuts down on the number of trips to the store!
  • Repeat every week! Watch how the market offerings change as summer goes on and fall grows near.
For more information on shopping at the Farmers' Market visit the Eatsmart web site.
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This institution is an equal opportunity provider. This material was funded by USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP. The University of Maryland Extension will not discriminate against any person because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry or national origin, marital status, genetic information, political affiliation, and gender identity or expression. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides nutrition assistance to people with low income. It can help you buy nutritious foods for a better diet. To find out more about Maryland’s Food Supplement Program (SNAP), contact the Maryland Department of Human Resources at 1-800-332-6347 or apply online at https://mydhrbenefits.dhr.state.md.us/.
© Eat Smart, Be Fit Maryland!Maira Gall