When I first planted our garden, I was convinced that I’d be able to grow all of the veggies we needed and we could give up going to the grocery store totally. Then, when we added chickens, I thought it was even more possible! But… I’d basically have to turn our entire yard into a garden for that to happen! Sean vetoed that idea, so now I frequent farmers markets whenever possible. One of the best farmers markets in the entire city just so happens to be within walking distance of our bungalow, so we walk there every Sunday to scoop up what is freshest! During our many visits to the market, I’ve learned what is absolutely essential to a successful, waste-free market trip.
Why I Shop at the Farmers Market
I love being able to select produce that not only tastes amazing, but also helps to support independent farmers and growers. Within our household, it is much more of a priority to support small businesses as much as possible. I’m also just plain tired of being disappointed in the quality of produce I’ve found at my local grocery store. You know what I mean… tomatoes at turn mushy in a day, yogurt that upsets my stomach and contains tons of unnecessary added sugar, cheese that tastes like nothing… you get the idea.
By purchasing raw ingredients once a week from a local produce stand instead of a grocery store, I am able to know exactly what goes into all of our meals. The result is that we’re much healthier because we cook more at home (I loathe wasting food) and we support a small business. To me, that is a win-win all around.
My Essentials for a Zero Waste Farmers Market Trip, Plastic-Free
The key to living plastic-free and a successful farmers market trip is being prepared. Yes, this takes a little bit of time to gather your market essentials, but the reward is multifold. Just think of all the plastic that is not going into a landfill and I guarantee those extra minutes spent preparing will feel so much more worthwhile.
To prepare our household, I’ve assembled a few key items that help us avoid plastic, excess papers, and get use closer to a zero waste shopping excursion.
Here are my current favorites:
- canvas wine caddy — if you buy local wine, this is the best way to carry it home. Plus, the bag is great for bringing wine for a picnic or party!
- cheese paper and storage bags — I’ve found that my cheese lasts way longer when I use this.
- metal straws — my goal this year is to completely eliminate plastic straws from my life, so it helps to carry a few of these around with me.
- KeepCup — I always get coffee at the market, so a reusable cup is essential.
- market basket — this is great for bringing home fresh flowers and plants for the garden.
- net shopping bag — so lightweight and great to carry every day, even if you’re not going to the market.
- L.L. Bean Boat & Tote — this is my holy grail bag!!! I am completely obsessed with this large tote and even use it every day for my daily carry. I prefer the open top so I can throw everything in it that I need. And it is so sturdy.
- reusable cotton storage bags — perfect for holding produce and bulk items.
Once you get all of your beautiful, delicious produce, cheese, and meats home, it’s time to store them. There is a bit of debate over whether you should clean your produce when you bring it home or wait until you’re ready to consume it. I always clean my produce when I bring it home from the market because I am much more likely to eat it if it’s ready to immediately be consumed.
Here are some food storage tools that have helped me stay organized and maintain our plastic-free, zero waste kitchen:
- Grandy bread box — not only is it super cute, but this bread box helps to keep your baked goods fresher longer.
- Glass screw top jar of Le Parfait
- Le Parfait jam jars
- Le Parfait straight glass canning & storage jars
- eco friendly, reusable food wraps — basically the best natural alternative to plastic wrap.
- cotton bowl covers — great for covering leftovers or dough as it rises.
- Brother label maker — for when you need to know what is in all those jars! I also create labels indicating cook times for things like rice and pasta and put them on the jars as well.
- metallic storage basket — great for storing onions, potatoes, or any produce that doesn’t need to be refrigerated.
- vegetable brush — so I can give my produce (especially carrots and potatoes) a good scrub!
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Be sure to follow my Wellness + Self Care + Green Living pin board for even more inspiration on this topic. If you’ve gone plastic-free, zero waste, or even have tips for a successful farmers market trip, I’d love to know more! Let me know down in the comments.
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