Love going to the farmers market but need help sticking to a plan? Follow the easy tips in this post to develop weekly meal plans centered around farmers market veggies!
Do you tend to get a little too excited when it comes to shopping at the farmers market? In other words, are your eyes bigger than your stomach when you see fresh veggies?
Maybe you purchase a ton of produce from the market but don’t know exactly how you’ll use it. And by the end of the week, you barely made a dent into your veggie stash.
If this scenario sounds familiar, you’ve come to the right place! Instead of overdoing it at the farmers market, learn how to shop like a pro with a meal plan in mind.
The following tips will help you organize balanced meals that incorporate seasonal vegetables, so that you can support your local food system, increase your veggie intake, and cut down on food waste.
Tips for Plannings Meals with Farmers Market Veggies
1 – Figure out what vegetables are in season.
The first and most important step in making a farmers market meal plan is knowing what veggies you can expect to find that week.
If you regularly go to the market, you can ask at the info booth or chat with the individual farmers to see what they plan to have at their stands in upcoming weeks.
You can also use this online Seasonal Food Guide for a glimpse into what’s in season in your area!
2 – Assign one veggie to each day of the week that you plan to cook, and then find a recipe using that vegetable.
Once you know what’s in season, choose a few vegetables that you want to use that week and assign a different veggie to each day that you plan to cook.
If you are new to meal planning, I’d recommend just planning out your dinners for the week to start. For example, if broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, peppers, and cucumbers are in season, find a dinner recipe using each vegetable. Then round out the meals with a protein and/or side if necessary.
A sample dinner meal plan using these vegetables might look like:
- Monday – baked salmon, potatoes, Charred Broccoli and Red Onion
- Tuesday – Cauliflower Steaks with Lemon Parsley Tahini, three bean salad
- Wednesday – Radish and Black Bean Tacos, side salad
- Thursday – Spaghetti Stuffed Bell Peppers, steamed green beans
- Friday – burgers on the grill, Mango Cucumber Salad
3 – Write your meals down on your calendar, a white board on your fridge, or on a weekly meal template.
For a free template, plus these tips on planning farmers market meals, enter your email address below.
I recommend printing this template (check your inbox after you enter your email!), writing your grocery list on the back, and taking it with you to the market.
4 – Make a grocery list and check to see what you already have.
Write a list of everything that you need for your meals that week, then check your fridge and pantry to see what you already have and can take off the list.
5 – Stick to your list…but don’t be afraid to pivot and make substitutions!
Sketching out a meal plan before you go to the market doesn’t mean that you need to strictly adhere to it. One of the best parts about going to the farmers market is perusing the stands.
If you planned to get cucumbers, but the beets look especially fresh and delicious this week, by all means go for the beets and find a recipe for them later.
If you prefer this kind of flexibility, try putting together just 2-3 nights of meals before you go to the market.
For the other nights that you plan to cook, pick up whatever produce looks good to you and have fun experimenting!
6 – Go early and remember your tote bags.
If you want to beat the crowds, or if you have your eye on a specific veggie that usually sells out, be sure to get to the markets early.
And before you go, check out my tips on What to Bring to the Farmers Market.
Happy farmers market season!