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Your Guide to Shopping at the Farmers' Market and Keeping Your Purchases Fresh at Home

Your Guide to Shopping at the Farmers Market and Keeping Your Purchases Fresh at Home Arts & Culture Smithsonian


Over the past six years, the number of farmers markets has grown over 76 percent with a continual rise in interest for locally grown food. And, the summer season is the busiest time at the farmers markets as there is an overwhelmingly delicious array of colorful fruits and vegetables for sale.   

Yet, as happy as it may be picking out all of that produce, come Friday the basil that was supposed to go in that night's dinner may be all black and the zucchini? It's covered with brown spots. But, there are ways to avoid these common farmers market conundrums. First, a couple of general tips that will make your purchases hit the dinner table instead of the trash can:

  • Go home right after the market. Don’t leave the produce in the car to run other errands or baking in the sun while getting breakfast. Head home and store them properly, as soon as you arrive.
  • Keep the produce out of sunlight once home.
  • Do not store fruits and vegetables together. Fruits give off high levels of ethylene gas, which ripens the fruits, causing them to change color, become softer, and sweeter. But it can quickly spoil surrounding vegetables.

There are so many varieties of fruits and vegetables at the summer market, but here are a few ways to help keep the summer's most popular produce last.

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