Farmer’s Market Guide to Picking Produce

Farmer’s Market Guide to Picking Produce

Just in time for the Holidays, we’ve compiled a list of tips on how to pick the best produce. With the Downtown Bradenton Farmers Market every Saturday and the City of Anna Maria Farmers Market every Tuesday- there are 2 great options to get local products and some of the freshest fruits and veggies for great prices! We can probably all cover the bases of how to pick apples and bananas but what about those trickier ones like avocado or sweet potatoes? We’ll make it easy for you!

  1. Avocado
    Ripe, ready to eat avocados may have a darker color but color can vary so it is best to go by feel. A ripe avocado should yield to firm, gentle pressure, but shouldn’t feel overly soft or mushy.
  2. Sweet Potato
    Avoid very large sweet potatoes, as this is a sign of age. An aged sweet potato has lost some of its nutrients. You also don’t want the end to look too shriveled, as this also indicates age.
  3. Brussel Sprouts
    Look for small, firm sprouts with compact, bright-green heads—the smaller the head, the sweeter the taste. Avoid any yellowing and search for sprouts sold on the stem, which are usually the freshest.
  4. Asparagus
    Pick vivid green asparagus stalks. They should have firm stems with a little give.
  5. Berries
    We recommend turning over containers of berries, to check for rotted or overripe ones. When buying blackberries, raspberries, or even strawberries, the bottom of the package should not have stained or moist spots.
  6. Kiwi
    Choose fruits that give slightly when pressed. Avoid fruits that are either rock hard or mushy.
  7. Herbs
    Make sure you choose bright, unwilted plants. Once you get home, treat herbs like flowers. Cut off the ends and put them in a glass of water in the refrigerator. Basil makes the only exception. Keep it on the counter, away from direct sun. Refrigerating it will spoil the flavor, and will also turn its leaves black.


Every Tuesday (excluding December 25, 2018 and January 1, 2019) through May 14th the City of Anna Maria is hosting a farmer’s market at City Pier Park at the corner of Pine Avenue and South Bay Blvd. Southwest Florida produce will be available along with herbs, plants, flowers, baked goods & much more!


The market sets up every Saturday on Old Main Street, just north of Manatee Avenue from the first weekend in October to the last week in May. Old Main Street is a tree-lined retail district of cafes and restaurants running three blocks north from Manatee Avenue to the Manatee River, where it meets the Bradenton Riverwalk.