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Farmer's Market: 5 Tips for Your Next Trip

There's something about the weekends that gets me excited, it's not just the days off, but it's because I get to stroll the Farmer's Market in Beverly Hills near where I live and get to really bring home fresh produce. There's something about meeting the person behind your veg. Growing up, my grandma in Pittsburgh had this gorgeous garden in her backyard. It was tiered, I remember my cousins and I picking fresh cucumbers and tomatoes from the garden in the summer. My grandma would make us a fresh tomato salad, but my favorite thing was to eat the tomato like an apple. The sweet taste when it hit my lips makes me smile just reminiscing. I've never had a tomato that sweet since. I still have a psychological connection to tomatoes, just tomato sauce simmering away on the stove on a Sunday makes my heart happy. It's the Italian girl in me, you can always find me in the kitchen trying to recreate a dish from the matriarchs in my family or trying out a recipe from Pintrest.

I know before I ever went to a Farmer's Market, just the thought was intimidating. What would I buy? How long does it stay good for? What is currently in season? How does it taste? It's ok, I got you covered with 5 Easy Tips to make your first time to the farmer's market fun & having you coming back week after week!

1. Make a list of what veggies, fruits, breads, oils, jams, nuts, etc that you need for meals for the Week. Most veggies and fruits when prepped can last 5-7 days. Making tacos for the week, you'll need lettuce, tomatoes, onions, garlic, fresh tortillas?

2. Walk around first. My advice is to take a good long stroll, perusing from the beginning of the market to the end, so you don't miss anything. If something catches your eye, then stop and explore.

3. Let your curiosity go! Let that inner child come out, now is the time! Does the woman have peaches that you've been craving? What about all the Kale! Collards! Bok Choy? Explore!

4. Talk to the vendor. Ask questions. Don't be shy. Want a sample? Ask. Most vendors want you to buy from them and take great pride in their offerings. They will let you try their olive oil, fig jam, apple, etc. My mom had never had a blood orange until she came to LA. We went downtown on a food tour and we walked through a market, our tour leader looked at my mom and asked if she had ever had a blood orange, my mom was like No. The tour guide walked up to the vendor and asked for a sample. My mom fell instantly in love and bought 4! That leads me to #5.

5. Try something new. Never had eggplant, BUY one! Pintrest a recipe. You won't know what you love until you try it. And there are so many delicious ways to cook these beautiful vegetables and fruits.

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