June 29, 2010 06:15
As you might imagine, Leda Meredith knows many local farmers who sell their fresh produce in the stalls that line Union Square Park. As a “pro” local shopper, she had these tips for me, more of an “impulse buyer:”
Walk around and compare prices before buying. You might find the same potatoes or zucchini for $1.00 less a pound at another vendor’s table.
Learn what food is not only in season, but what’s at its peak. “This is a win/win situation,” Leda explained. “When produce is in season it not only costs less but tastes better.” Pages 50-53 of her Locavore’s Handbook detail not only the harvest seasons, but the dates when various foods are most available. For example, summer in the Northeast is fruit season.
Ask how to store food. Some foods should not be refrigerated because their texture and flavor will deteriorate. Other food can be canned, frozen, dried for the long run, or stored more immediately to best effect in green produce bags. Leda provides a lowdown on storing food in Chapters 8 and 9 of The Locavore’s Handbook.