Chef Anthony Devoti of Five Bistro offers these suggestions for shopping at farmers markets:
• Arrive early if you're looking for unusual produce or for items that probably will sell out quickly, such as berries, squash blossoms and fruits at the beginning or end of their seasons.
• Before you buy, make a circuit of the market to evaluate quality and prices.
• Ask questions. Farmers may offer advice on preparation and recipes, and they'll get to know you if you come to their booths regularly.
• Sign up for email lists and make note of vendors with Facebook pages and other social-media communications. Many sellers provide product lists before they arrive at a market.
• When you get home, keep it simple. Take advantage of colors, shapes and textures, but limit the amount of ingredients that you use so that seasonal flavors take center stage. Simple techniques such as roasting are often the best for highlighting vegetables' and fruits' natural flavors.