While summer is indeed winding down, there’s still plenty of time to enjoy those last moments spent outdoors before the snow and muck sets in. Although I personally enjoy the fall and winter months, I do cherish the final bits and pieces of summer’s offering and especially like to stock up at the local farmers’ market before the vendors close up shop for the season. Merriam offers a fantastic farmers’ market (5740 Merriam Drive) throughout the summer with vendors selling fresh produce, baked goods and handcrafted items every Saturday morning from May to mid-October. In fact, the Merriam Marketplace, on average, greets 16,500 market shoppers throughout the season. There are only seven weeks left until the final market Saturday (October 10), so the Visitors Bureau has rounded up 10 tips to make the most of your farmers’ market visit to Merriam.
- Come early to find the best selection or come late to find better deals on what items remain. Merriam’s market runs from 7:00am-1:00pm each Saturday and most vendors offer tasty samples of their goods. Don’t forget to bring cash in small bills.
- Bring your own market bag. Many vendors will offer you a plastic grocery bags, but for an eco-friendly option that lets your veggies breathe, invest in a mesh or cloth bag, but be sure to wash them regularly.
- Your mama told you…you better shop around. While I definitely like to stick with certain farmers or shop from the booths I love, it’s a good idea to make the trek around the market comparing prices, flavors and selection.
- Pack a cooler to store items that won’t make it home immediately. Often times, Saturday morning is errand day for many of us, so remember to ice down a small cooler to keep your market buys cool and fresh. On the other hand, some things don’t prefer the cold, so keep them at room temp (tomatoes tend to become mushy and acidic in the fridge). Once you arrive back home, it’s time to wash everything and prep for storage or Saturday night dinner!
- Take a peek at what’s fresh each month with a seasonal produce calendar so you can be sure to buy your favorite selections when they’re the ripest and most delicious. I like this one from Muddle a Mint Sprig.
- Make a meal plan for the week so you know exactly what items you’ll need. Here’s a favorite Eggplant Parmesan recipe which makes an appearance on our menu at least 3-4 times throughout the season and it always tastes better with fresh eggplant straight from the market.
- Create a list of freezer-friendly foods and stock up on those fruits and vegetables to use in smoothies and soups during the non-market months. Be sure to label items with a date–no one likes yucky freezer burn taste.
- Think outside of the fruit and veggie box. Even though it’s summertime, farmers markets are a great place to shop for gifts. With tons of local products (soaps, honey, bread mix, etc.) you can find lots of ideas for an upcoming birthday or other occasion.
- Slightly damaged melons need love too. If you find a bruised item, try offering the vendor a lower price. It’s likely they would rather sell it than throw it out at the end of the day.
- Find out what else is going on near the market. Many regional markets also offer entertainment, cooking demonstrations and other activities. In Merriam, we offer all of that and more. From chef demos to live, weekly bands and even a great walking trail behind the marketplace, there’s more to do than just sample produce and shop. Check out Merriam’s line-up of market activity here.
Merriam Marketplace upcoming events | 5740 Merriam Drive
Pianos on Parade | on display under the pavilion through October 10
Farmer’s Market | Saturdays through October 10 | 7:00am-1:00pm
Turkey Creek Car & Motorcycle Show | Saturday, September 12 | 10:00am-4:00pm
Funday Sunday | Sunday, October 11 | 4:00-7:00pm
Halloween Happenings | Saturday, October 24 | 2:00-4:30pm