Going to the farmers market is something I look forward to every weekend. The produce is fresh, locally grown and so delicious. Getting food that’s locally grown and seasonal is better for the environment because it doesn’t have a big carbon footprint. That’s because it doesn’t have to travel overseas to get to you, resulting in fewer emissions. It’s easy to shop plastic free at the farmers market too, because there aren’t any produce stickers on the produce. A lot of the produce also comes completely package free on its own. That said, there’s still disposable plastic bags and plastic produce bags the farmers will offer you. It’s a good idea to avoid these and come prepared with your own items. Here’s how I stay plastic free at the farmers market, and how you can too.
Shopping plastic free doesn’t need to be hard!
Reusable Produce Bags
Single use produce bags are super wasteful. You can easily avoid these by bringing reusable produce bags with you to the market. There are so many different kinds to choose from.
Personally, I have a mix of cotton and synthetic produce bags. I really love the cotton ones because they have cute patterns on them and they’re compostable at the end of their life. However, the synthetic produce bags hold up just as well and have saved me from using disposables many times in the past. It really just depends on personal preference.
You can fit all kinds of things into these produce bags: apples, pears, broccoli, string beans, lettuce, etc. They hold a surprising amount of stuff, all without ripping! They’re honestly way more reliable than single use produce bags ever were. I recommend taking at least ten with you, if not more.
Reusable Tote Bags
Don’t forget your tote bags! These will be used to hold all the reusable produce bags you fill with fresh veggies as you walk around the market.
Most people are used to bringing their own reusable tote bags by now, but they don’t always realize that’s just one step of the equation! Still, they’re an essential part of a plastic free haul. I recommend using bags made from recycled plastic, or canvas tote bags. I use a mix of the two. I recommend taking at least two big tote bags, if not more.
I also recommend taking at least one bag that has a cardboard bottom. This comes in handy when you want to store berry cartons without having them fall all over the place and get squished. It’s a real-life saver!
Beeswax Wrap for Cheese and Bread
If you’re lucky enough to have access to cheese and bread at the farmers market, I suggest taking some beeswax wrap with you. Cheese needs to be kept sealed to preserve it. Instead of wrapping it in plastic wrap, ask the vendor if they could wrap it in your beeswax wrap instead.
Beeswax wraps are completely compostable at the end of their life, which is awesome. There are some beeswax wraps that are designed specifically with baguette’s in mind, so consider investing in one of those if you have a weakness for baguettes. I recommend taking at least two medium sized beeswax wraps, depending on how much cheese or bread you plan on getting.
You can also but bread into cloth produce bags, if they can fit. When you get home, I recommend eating the bread right away to avoid it getting hard. You can also freeze the bread to help preserve it without plastic. Cheese should always be put in the fridge right away and stored in the beeswax wrap.
Glass Jars for Berries
At the farmers market, lots of berries come packaged in paper cartons. You can return these cartons to the vendors so they can be reused. It helps save the farmers money, and keeps things waste free.
However, if you don’t like the idea of your berries possibly getting crushed inside your tote bag, bring some glass jars with you to market. You can transfer the berries over to the glass jar and hand the cartons back to the farmer before you leave. This way, your berries will stay fresh and un-squished.
Another option is to do what I do: Bring a tote bag with a cardboard bottom. I simply place all the cartons into this bag and it keeps them stable. I don’t put anything else in this bag – just the berries, so they remain in place and don’t get squished.
This is how I keep things zero waste and plastic free at the farmers market. Do you like to shop at the farmers market too? Will you try these tips?