Photo: avlxyz, Flickr
Just because you're on the road doesn't mean you can't enjoy the bounty of local farmers' markets, even if you can't exactly pick up a few grass-fed steaks to throw on the grill.
But where are the best farmers' markets in America for travelers? CNN asked food writers and chefs to pick their favorite farmers' markets for experiencing local food culture while on the road.
"You can still get a wonderful sense of what's grown in that community, and what you can find in restaurants when you dine there," Janet Fletcher, author of Fresh From the Farmers' Market, told CNN.
Chef and author Richard Ruben also hits up local farmers' markets wherever he goes to get a taste of culture "off the tourist track," he told CNN.
If you're on the road and can't resist the market's wares, Nina Planck, author of Real Food: What to Eat and Why and founder of London Farmers' Markets, suggests shopping for a picnic. "Go straight for the quiche lady, or sausage guy, and see if he has some cured meats," she told CNN. "Or the cheese people and the fruit people."
Where do they recommend?
Santa Monica's Farmers' Market in Santa Monica, Calif., was a hit with Ruben. He recommends trying the local specialty -- the Buddha's hand.
"It's a bizarre little citrus fruit that has almost no meat. It's only about the zest," he told CNN. "I'll never get it in New York, but I know that in December, if I'm on the West Coast, it will be in their farmers' market."
He's also a fan of the Green City Market in Chicago. "For me, in the Chicago market, it wasn't as much about the discovery of something new. It was just the richness that the fertile earth of the center of this country produces, the beautiful produce, the luxuriousness of our land," he said.
All three writers are fans of Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in San Francisco.
"For the quality and variety of the produce, it's probably the top market in the country," Fletcher said.
The Portland Farmers' Market in Portland, Ore., and New York City's Union Square Greenmarket rounded out the top five.
Other markets in Santa Fe, Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Seattle and Flint, Mich., also made the cut. You can vote for your favorite farmers' markets in the in the American Farmland Trust's contest.