On a recent Sunday, team genneve gave me $25 and a challenge: Shop Seattle’s beautiful Ballard Farmers Market and find the foods that optimize the health of a woman in midlife. Watch the video to get inspired by all the gorgeous produce, then learn more below…

What’s not to love about this challenge? Farm fresh food, live music, gorgeous flower stalls at every turn, and a sunny day in Seattle! There are so many seasonal goodies available now which made this challenge so palatable.

However, like many farmers markets (there are over 8,000 in the U.S.!), the size of this one is quite substantial, and the choices can be overwhelming. This inspired me to put a plan and some tips in place to help you shop smart and healthy during your next trip to your local farmers market.

The key to successfully shopping the market is…a plan! If you don’t have a plan, you end up running around the market buying everything that looks beautiful and spending a lot of money on food you may or may not end up eating because you don’t know how to prepare it. Hello, rhubarb and kohlrabi! You’re gorgeous, but I haven’t the faintest idea what to do with you.

Three easy tips for staying on plan:

  1. Come prepared with a list and a recipe or recipes. This will help you stay on task and on budget.
  2. Peruse the market first. Check out all of the vendors, their selection and their prices.
  3. Bargain with the vendors. Especially if you come at the end of the day, a lot of farmers are trying to part with their produce and may be able to give you a deal.

My plan for my visit to Ballard was to stock my refrigerator with mainly nutrient-dense foods that I can easily prep and eat all week long. I created my list prior to my visit and settled on produce/foods that are uber healthy,  taste divine, and have a decent shelf life.

  • Beets: Juice them, roast them, eat them raw. Thinly shave them with a mandolin and put on top of salads. Rich in vitamins and minerals and high in fiber, beets pack a powerful punch, improving blood pressure, increasing stamina, even diminishing the risk of heart disease.
  • Blueberries: I love adding these to smoothies, oatmeal, seltzer water, even salads. Blueberries have the highest amount of anti-oxidants of any fruit! Plus they are high in fiber and Vitamin C and low in calories.
  • Green Beans: Pickle them, roast them, make a summery salad with them, eat them raw! Green beans are extremely high in iron, calcium and magnesium, plus Vitamins A and C and antioxidants.
  • Snap Peas: A great all-around snack or addition to stir fry. High in Vitamin C which boosts immunity and stimulates collagen production. Also high in Vitamin K and antioxidants.
  • Eggs: While research indicates that that farmers market eggs aren’t necessarily healthier than mass-produced eggs, they are indeed far tastier than grocery store eggs. Free range chickens eat the healthiest diet in the summer months, which in turn means a more delicious egg dish for you.
  • Kale: Braised, sautéed, tossed into salads or into smoothies, this super green that hails from the cabbage family is rich in folate, Vitamins A, C and K and rich in fiber and protein.

At the end of my shop, I had a few dollars to spare so I treated myself to some Kombucha, a fermented tea drink that’s made by adding bacteria and yeast to sugar and black or green tea and allowing the brew to ferment. Kombucha does a ton of good things for us: it may help to aid digestion, stimulate the immune system, prevent cancer, stop hair loss, and even improve liver function. Kombucha can now be found at most super markets, but the one that I tried was from a local Kombucha maker, CommuniTea Kombucha.

I hope that these tips were helpful, and now I challenge you to get your list together and head to your local farmers market.

Cheers to your health!

Check out more great content from Michelle on savvy shopping on a budget, conquering the bulk aisle, avoiding holiday stress eating, and more.


Michelle Cartmel

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