Health & Wellness

Ask an Expert — Six Tips for Planning Menus Around Farmers Market Selections

By Heidi LeBlanc |

Farmers 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. Being flexible allows you to choose the produce that looks the best and is offered at the best price. Below are tips for planning meals around the unpredictable availability at farmers markets.

  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 ensure that you use what you bought, which will reduce 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. 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 variety of produce such as stir-fry, soups or omelets.
  6. Be open to making last-minute changes to your favorite recipe. Consider these 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

WRITER

Heidi LeBlanc
Home and Community Department Director
Extension
(435)797-3923
heidi.leblanc@usu.edu

CONTACT

Casey Coombs
Create Better Health Assistant Director
USU Extension
casey.coombs@usu.edu


TOPICS

Extension 388stories Agriculture 188stories Family 161stories Food 139stories

Comments and questions regarding this article may be directed to the contact person listed on this page.

Next Story in Health & Wellness

See Also