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8 Tips for a Successful Trip to the Farmers Market from Miraval Resorts’ Director of Culinary Experiences

Tis the season to enjoy the fresh bounty available at your local farmers market
Photo: Shutterstock

Brian Contreras knows a thing or two about navigating a local farmers market and finding the freshest produce. As director of culinary experiences for Miraval Resorts, he is involved in strategizing with the chefs and nutritionists at Miraval Arizona, Miraval Austin and Miraval Berkshires on how to incorporate the produce grown at the resorts’ on-site farms and sourced from nearby farms into their culinary workshops and dishes they create for guests. He also conceived Miraval’s culinary philosophy, part of which focuses on empowering guests with a variety of tools for creating a life in balance through culinary inspiration, education, and discovery.

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Brian Contreras, director of culinary experiences for Miraval Resorts

Here, he shares some tips to help support local farmers and food purveyors while ensuring your next trip to the farmers market is a successful one.

  1. Look at the vendor list beforehand and identify the vendors you don’t see in every supermarket or who are most local to you. Epicurious has a great regional seasonal map that lets you plug in your locale to determine what’s in season.  
  2. Bring several reusable bags.
  3. Go to the dedicated produce stands first, as those tend to run out the fastest. The best stalls are usually located in the heart of the market. The most visually appealing flowers and ready-made food are usually placed at the entrance to draw people in. Once you get through these, you’ll usually find the vendors with the best selection of in-season produce.  ​
  4. Talk to the farmers and owners—ask questions, such as where their farm is located, what regions they support, what is the history of their farm, and what are their sustainability practices? Listen closely to their stories. If you don’t like what you hear, don’t be afraid to move on to the next stand.
  5. Find balance in the items you choose – farmers markets have a variety of offerings, so why just buy vegetables? Pick up some freshly baked bread to enjoy with your meal or a homemade pie for dessert. 
  6. Learn how you can support your favorite vendors outside of the farmers market. Maybe it’s by joining a CSA, stopping by the farmstand more regularly, or spreading the word to your friends and neighbors.
  7. Don’t forget: It’s important to avoid food waste. The goal is to support your local businesses while still being mindful about how much of each item you need. Remember, you can always return to the market next week. 
  8. Have fun!
About The Author
Heather-Mikesell-author-1

Heather, co-founder of Well Defined and the former editor-in-chief of American Spa, is an award-winning journalist and content strategist, skilled in writing, copyediting, and media relations. She is also a freelance writer and has contributed to Elite Traveler, Islands, Kiwi, Luxury Travel Advisor, Organic Spa, Porthole Cruise, Travel Agent, abcnews.com, jetsetter.com, outside.com, and wellandgood.com, in addition to various custom publications. She is frequently called upon to comment on various spa and wellness trends for various media outlets.