7 Pro Tips for shopping the Farmer's Market

Have you ever wandered around a Farmer’s Market, curious but not really sure how the whole thing works? Or, worse, not even gone because it felt too intimidating.

Here’s 7 tips to get you shopping at the outdoor markets like a pro!

  1. Don’t buy the first things you see. Unless it is the last 15 minutes of a market, there is plenty to choose from. Walk around and see how has the best looking and variety of produce. Sometimes I initially bought a lot of squash from one vendor, then found out 4 stalls down someone had perfect green beans - but I didn’t buy them because I didn’t want to go to the trouble of freezing the squash. (And it is not cool to try to “return” food …)

  2. Bring bags. The vendors usually have bags, but bringing your own makes it nicer for you. Some vendors charge for bags, too.

  3. Bring a little cash. Most vendors take credit cards, especially higher ticket items like meat. But some are cash only.

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4. Always ask vendors for advice. They love to share. (If they don’t, move on. The next one will.) Recipes, when a piece of fruit will be ripe, and how food is grown are perfect questions. Many vendors are not certified organic because of the cost involved, but they grow organically.

5. If you are going to be out for over an hour in the hot sun, bring an ice chest for frozen meats and fish.

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6. Wear comfortable shoes. Ladies, if you are going after work and are in heels, bring out that pair of walking shoes you keep in the car. (You do keep a pair of walking shoes in the car for impromptu walks, right?)

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7. Last, if you can plan a few minutes to enjoy the music or watch kids play games, most markets have some type of outdoor entertainment.

Shopping outside can be such a pleasure and when you know what you are doing, it is easy.

A new twist on Mindful Eating

When you hear Mindful Eating what do you picture? A group of monks contemplating the grains of rice in front of them? Of course, it is not the other extreme of driving, yelling (in love) at your kids in the back seat to quit fighting, while eating the burger you picked up in the drive-thru.

Mindful Eating is not about having candlelight at every meal - but it is about the emotional environment you create.

Let’s go back to your high school biology class.  (I know: moan, groan.)  Remember the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems?  Only one of these systems can be dominant at a time.  When you are agitated, excited, upset, in crisis, angry, or stressed the sympathetic nervous system is kicking into gear.  This means that the parasympathetic system is not able to function well.  You may recall that the parasympathetic system controls your digestive system.

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Uh, oh.  We have a situation.  The exciting movie you are watching with dinner, the argument you just had with your teenager, the mulling over what your co-worker did, the worrying about whether someone accepts you, or the report that is due at work tomorrow each keep you from digesting your food well. Even just looking at the picture above probably tenses your stomach.

Living in peace and joy is important anytime, but especially at mealtime!  God wants you to be healthy.  He knows that for you to digest your food well, which allows you to absorb the nutrients to “renew your youth,” you need to be joyful and peaceful when you eat.

This also includes allowing God to be the emotional lift that you need.  Many of us (especially those of us who were chronic dieters) have trained ourselves to dull (or distract) negative emotions through eating.  When you are angry or sad or bored, before you open the pantry out of habit, tell God what you are feeling.  Ask Him to show you how to process your emotions.  God will give you strength to tolerate the discomfort until it naturally passes, which it often does.  He will give you wisdom to change the thoughts causing the emotions.  He will show you answers to stressful situations.  God will heal your heartache.