baskets

Sturdy walking shoes? Check. Pocket umbrella and billed cap? Check. A cooler and empty jars? Wait, no check? Well, that’s okay. Early in the season, it’s hard to remember the little things we can do to make our farmers market experience greener. Yes, going to the farmers market is a green activity all in itself, but with some simple prep and 15 minutes of forethought, you can assemble a farmers market kit that will reduce waste at the market, and once you’ve brought your bounty home.

Toting reusable bags wherever you go is second nature at this point, but it’s easy to forget these environmental staples if you walk or bike to the market. While market produce vendors and farmers do have plastic bags, bringing your own cuts down on growers’ costs (plastic bags = cash). It also sends the message, in a subtle way, “hey, enough with the plastic bags, alright?” Another sturdy container that’s easy to cart around and contain produce while shopping? Recycled boxes.

Thoroughly cleaned glass containers with lids are great for containing and hauling bulk items or liquid goods. If you want to buy items that need to stay cool (fish, red meat, eggs, milk, cream, flowers), bring a cooler and ice.

Farmers markets are notorious grounds for stellar vendors who brew and sell fresh coffee. Bring your own coffee mug if you know you’ll inevitably buy a cup (or three).

After you’ve returned home from the market, wash your bounty. Prevent food loss by properly storing produce, meat, bread and other perishable goodies. For example, don’t refrigerate the heirloom tomatoes, but do chill those locally grown apples!

When prepping your food to eat, use all parts of the produce you can and aim for zero waste. All scraps go in the compost!

Follow Abbie Stutzer on Twitter: @AbbieStutzer

Resources:

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2010/05/10-how-to-tips-for-shopping-at-farmers-markets.html

http://www.vegetariantimes.com/article/spoiled-rotten-how-to-store-fruits-and-vegetables/

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-shop-farmers-market/

http://www.bumptobean.com/how-to-store-produce/

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-shop-farmers-market/

http://www.mass.gov/agr/markets/farmersmarkets/get_fresh_smartshop.htm

Image: KRO-Media