Ask an Expert: Six Tips for Planning Menus around Farmers Market Selections

    Ask an Expert: Six Tips for Planning Menus around Farmers Market Selections

    Farmers MarketFarmers markets are known for offering an ever-changing variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Although variety is a benefit of shopping at local farmers markets, it can be difficult and overwhelming to come up with a menu for the week without knowing what will be available at the market. Yet, being flexible allows you to choose the produce that looks the best and is offered at a good price. Below are tips for planning meals around the unpredictable availability at farmers market.

    1. Reverse your menu planning schedule. Shop at the market first, then build a menu for the week based on what you purchased. This will also help ensure that you use what you bought, reducing food waste.

    2. Plan the non-vegetable portion of your meals, then add the vegetable part after seeing what looks best at the market.

    3. Have a general sense of when different fruits and vegetables are usually in season and available. Plan your menu with at least two options, then buy the one that is offered at the best price.

    4. Bring your menu to the market. If there is something that looks great, but isn’t in your plan, revise your menu on the spot to incorporate it.

    5. Include a few meals in your menu that use a wide variety of produce like stir-fry, soup or omelets.

    6. Be open to making last-minute substitutions to your favorite recipes. Here are some ideas of fruits and vegetables that work well as substitutions.

     

    Recipe calls for

    Try this instead

    Apples

    Pears, grapes, cherries

    Beets

    Radishes, turnips, rutabaga, potatoes

    Blueberries

    Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, pitted cherries

    Broccoli

    Cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts

    Cucumbers

    Zucchini, celery

    Zucchini

    Yellow squash, patty pan squash, eggplant

    Potatoes

    Carrots, sweet potatoes, beets, rutabaga, turnips

    Spinach

    Kale, Swiss chard, bok choy

    Onions

    Shallots, leeks, scallions

    Peaches

    Nectarines, plums, pears

    By: Heidi LeBlanc, Utah State University Extension Food $ense state director; and Casey Coombs, Food $ense policy, systems and environments coordinator
    Published on: Jun 23, 2017

    Related Articles

    Tips for Stopping the Spread During Cold and Flu Season

    Tips for Stopping the Spread During Cold and Flu Season

    Basic Tips: Clean and wipe down shared surfaces such as countertops, keyboards and phones. Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes, and wash hands thoroughly and often. etc.

    Read More
    Ask an Expert: Check Your Hunger/Fullness Scale and Become a Mindful Eater

    Ask an Expert: Check Your Hunger/Fullness Scale and Become a Mindful Eater

    Congratulations! You made it through the holiday season. As we are starting into the New Year, most of us have hit the reset button and have wellness on our minds. One of the things I hear most from people is how they need to cleanse from the holidays, so their answer is to go on a diet.

    Read More
    Ask an Expert: Seven Ways to Improve Your Slumber

    Ask an Expert: Seven Ways to Improve Your Slumber

    The amount of sleep we need changes with age. Teens need 8-10 hours of sleep each night. Lack of proper sleep affects their growth, academic performance, mood and behavior. Adults 18-64 years of age require 7-9 hours of sleep. Sleep needs for older adults may slightly diminish with age.

    Read More