farmers’ market season.

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Farmers’ market season has got to be one of my favorite things about the spring and summer – there’s nothing better than spending a weekend morning picking up fresh produce and flowers for the week ahead. The combination of fresh air and charming vendors makes the entire experience fun, which is pretty much the opposite of how I’d describe weekend grocery shopping (ick).

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Growing up in a very rural area, we didn’t have farmers’ markets, but instead, there were farm stands scattered throughout town. They were usually set up right in front of the farm where all the produce was grown and often staffed by the wife or children of the farmer. I can remember stopping at a farm stand almost every night during the summers to grab fresh corn, tomatoes or fruit – there was always something different and the fruits & vegetables always just tasted so good. There’s nothing better than eating produce that’s as fresh as can be, the difference is incredible.

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Now that I’m a city-dweller, farmers’ markets are my secret to the freshest food and I love the fact that Chicago has so many options, which makes things super accessible. Last week I made my first farmers’ market trip of the season, stopping by the Daley Plaza farmers’ market over lunch to scope out what the vendors had to offer and sample the new Farmer’s Pick by Welch’s juice. It was the perfect little break in the middle of a busy work day & great to get some fresh air, plus Farmer’s Pick by Welch’s juice was just what I needed to satisfy the fruit cravings I’ve been having lately. They’re 100% juice with no preservatives or artificial flavors and are made from cold kettle-batched, unfiltered juice. You can really taste the difference vs. how sugary or watered down some other juices can taste and after sampling all three flavors, Mango, Blackberry & Concord Grape, I’ve gotta say, I’m totally hooked on the mango! It would be a great addition to a berry smoothie to add a little bit of a tropical kick (note to self: grab smoothie ingredients ASAP!) and it’s awesome to be able to get fresh-picked fruit taste in the juice aisle of the grocery store.

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I also got to talking with some of the local vendors and picked up a few tips to help you grab the best of the best when shopping at the farmers’ market:

  • Go early! This is a bit of a no brainer but the best fruits, veggies and flowers will be available right when the farmers’ market opens. Be sure to stop by early to make sure you’re not left with what’s already been picked over.
  • Plan Around What’s in Season: Instead of scouring for specific fruits and veggies, shop what’s in season and then plan meals after. This will give you more options at the farmers market and make sure you’re getting the tastiest produce possible.
  • Don’t Forget Cash & Bring Your Own Bags: Make it easy on the vendors (and yourself) by bringing cash and reusable grocery bags to tote your haul home. Since my farmers’ market trips are usually on foot, there’s nothing worse than having to try and figure out how to get all of your goodies home! 
  • Ask For Help & Recommendations: Don’t be shy! Ask the vendor what’s the freshest for the week or for recommendations on how to cook your produce or what you should pair it with. They’re the experts after all ;)

Have you stopped by your local farmers’ market yet? What are some of your favorite things to grab at the farmers’ market? 

This post is sponsored by Farmer’s Pick by Welch’s juice and SheKnows – thank you for supporting the brands that partner with Pretty & Fun. All opinions are 100% honest and my own and I only work with brands I truly feel are a good fit for my blog and audience.