Farmers market season is here!
At Bonicelli we buy every ingredient we can from the Minneapolis Farmers Market, and I (Alex) asked chef/owner Laura Bonicelli why she preferred shopping at a farmers market. The answers I received showed a much deeper reasoning than expected, things like “you can’t even buy wheat that hasn’t been genetically modified” were said, so I decided to grab a pen and get some expert tips for the novice farmers market shopper.
Q. How often do you shop at the farmers market?
A. “3-4 times a week when it’s in season.”
Q. Why do you choose to shop at the farmers market instead of a grocery store?
A. “I shop there because I can meet and talk with the farmers about their produce, and I love knowing that what I’m buying was picked that morning by the same people I’m buying it from. I also love the variety, I always feel inspired to cook when I’m at the market because there are so many great ingredients at my fingertips, plus, its just a fun place to be!”
Q. How do farmers markets positively impact food culture in the U.S.?
A. “Farmers markets do a great job of getting people involved in food, especially people who wouldn’t normally care about their food or where it comes from. Farmers markets eliminate the middle-man, giving people a chance to get educated about where their food comes from, how it’s produced, who’s producing it, and why they produce it the way they do. It puts a face to your food, and gives you a chance to know what you’re putting in your body.”
Q. What are some of your favorite farms/farmers to shop with at the Minneapolis Farmers Market, why?
A. “There are so many good ones, but when I shop there are a few farmers I always visit first!
Dehn Gardens has the best herbs ever, seriously, and they always have several generations of family on-site selling their goods.
Untiedt farms are a personal favorite of mine, they always seem to start the year earlier and end it later than everyone else, and the quality is just impeccable. Their staff is knowledgeable and willing to answer whatever questions I have no matter how dumb it is! Everything they sell is great, but I especially love their berries, cucumbers, sweet corn (best sweet corn ever!), tomatoes, and asparagus.
Shur Yang is another must visit because he picks his vegetables himself in the morning before he drives up to sell them, which makes them about as fresh as possible when you buy them!”
Q. What are your favorite/most essential things to purchase at the market?
A. “I always buy my greens there, nothing can compete with fresh greens from the farmers market. I love getting bushels of tomatoes there as well, I use them for sauce and eat them fresh. Sweet corn is a big one, it is just so much better at the market, and I buy it in bulk at the end of the season and freeze it so I can use it year round. I always look for things that are seasonal, things like asparagus are so good fresh and only around for a short period of time at the market, so I make sure to hunt for things that I might not be able to get next week!”
Q. How does the farmers market influence your business?
A. “In the Spring, Summer, and Fall I write a rough menu for the next few days of cooking. I go to the farmers market and fill out the recipes, and often change the menu based on all the inspiring ingredients I find. It helps me stay creative in the kitchen and keeps my menus exciting and original.”
Q. Will you continue shopping the farmers market once Bonicelli Kitchen opens?
A. “Short answer, YES! I will always buy local and fresh as much as possible, I love using the best ingredients I can find, and while Minnesota doesn’t always allow us to buy local year-round, I like to come as close to that as I can. We will use farmers market ingredients in our recipes, and we may even resell produce from local farmers in our own little marketplace.”
Farmers markets are one of the best ways for us as consumers to choose what we eat. It eliminates the doubt about where your food comes from, and what has been put into it. Shop your local farmers market and help support the people who are keeping food healthy, fresh, and safe! To view more info on our favorite market visit http://www.mplsfarmersmarket.com/FreshNews/!