'Healthy Living for Summer': How to navigate a farmers market

PHOTO: The Santa Monica Farmers Market in Los Angeles, seen here on June 14, 2017, started in 1981.PlayOlivia Smith/ABC News
WATCH Top tips to make the most out of your trip to the farmers market

Navigating a farmers market can be overwhelming in terms of deciding what to buy, what to look for and finding the best produce available. In the second episode of ABC News' "Healthy Living for Summer" series, we visited a market in Santa Monica, California.

We spoke to Laura Avery, who is the market supervisor and the manager at the Wednesday market, for some shopping advice.

PHOTO: A woman offers samples of tomatoes at the Santa Monica Farmers Market in Los Angeles, June 14, 2017.Olivia Smith/ABC News
A woman offers samples of tomatoes at the Santa Monica Farmers' Market in Los Angeles, June 14, 2017.

Quick tips

  • Bring a shopping bag and lots of small bills

  • Arrive before the market opens, when it's not too crowded, to scope out what you want

  • Walk through the whole market before you buy anything

  • Take advantage of the samples

  • Come with a list

  • Give yourself a couple of hours

  • Figure out where to park in advance

  • Don't try to do it all at once, try to go to a market twice a week if you can

  • Ask a farmer to help you identify the freshest items, or learn what to look for in advance, as it varies by product

  • PHOTO: An assortment of vegetables and fruits are sold at the Santa Monica Farmers Market in Los Angeles, June 14, 2017.Olivia Smith/ABC News
    An assortment of vegetables and fruits are sold at the Santa Monica Farmers' Market in Los Angeles, June 14, 2017.

    Shopping at a farmers market "means you're getting fruit you'd grow yourself, and it's grown for flavor, not shelf life," Avery said. She explained how everything in this market has to be grown by a farmer in California.

    "Farmers who participate in farmers markets tend to use more sustainable farming practices," Avery said. And by shopping at one, you're "literally keeping farmers on the farm," she continued.

    PHOTO: The Santa Monica Farmers Market in Los Angeles, seen here on June 14, 2017, started in 1981.Olivia Smith/ABC News
    The Santa Monica Farmers' Market in Los Angeles, seen here on June 14, 2017, started in 1981.

    Every farmers market is different, so doing research in advance can be helpful. At the Santa Monica farmers market, not everything is certified organic. Only the tents with orange flags are cleared by a third-party certifying agency. But Avery advises talking to the farmers without flags because their products may be grown organically and they could have simply decided not to pay for the certifying fees.

    If you are trying to eat seasonally, keep in mind that weather impacts products and supplies each year in terms of quantity, quality and when the produce will be ready.

    Watch ABC News learn how to navigate a farmers market in the video above.
    This weekly health series will continue throughout the summer.