Seeds, Soil, and Secret Recipes: 8 Things to Ask Your Farmer (Slideshow)

These 8 questions can help you navigate your local farmers market

Who Grew This Food?

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Finding out who grew your food can help you determine how far the food traveled and what types of growth or production methods were used.


Is Your Farm Certified Organic?

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Finances can hinder a farm’s ability to register for organic certifications, so if a farm isn’t certified, don’t assume they’re not organic; ask about their farming practices.

How Do You Care for Your Soil?

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Caring for the soil is an important part of producing food responsibly. Asking about soil maintenance can help start a conversation about the types of fertilizers used, pest management, controlling weeds, and the source of the farmer’s seeds.

Can I Visit Your Farm?

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Even if you don’t have time to go to the farm, ask to visit. If the farm is growing food responsibly, they’ll likely be open to the idea of having visitors.

What is This?

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Don’t be afraid to ask about a specific item. You may be surprised to find that it’s an heirloom variety of an ingredient you’re accustomed to using. Your farmer or seller can provide insight into what makes that particular variety unique.

What is the Best Way to Cook This?

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Even if you’re familiar with a particular ingredient, your farmer may be able to give you tips or new ideas about how to use it.

How Can I Preserve This?

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When it comes to produce, much of spring and summer’s bounty can be saved for cooler and less abundant months. Many farmers have great tips for freezing, pickling, or canning.

Why do you farm?

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Perhaps the most important question of all, this allows you to get to know your local farmer and share ideas; building relationships around food is a great way to foster community and become educated on important food-related topics.