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The Farmer’s Market: Learning From the Source

Alice Waters

Lesson time 09:13 min

Alice teaches you how to become a discerning shopper whether at the farmers’ market or grocery store. Learn her guidelines for selecting ingredients, including questions to ask vendors and farmers.

Alice Waters
Teaches The Art of Home Cooking
In 16+ lessons, learn to cook beautiful, seasonal meals at home from the James Beard Award-winning founder of Chez Panisse.
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ALICE WATERS (VOICEOVER): Finding the best ingredients might feel daunting. But there's nothing mysterious about it. You just need to learn to follow your senses. I urge you to find a farmer's market where you live. But if you shop at a grocery store, you can apply the same principles. - These are beautiful. Are things from around here? - The centrals? Yeah, those are Mendocino. - Mendocino. ALICE WATERS (VOICEOVER): Ask where your food comes from. And ask for them to support local, sustainable farmers in your area. Shopping at a farmer's market will allow you to talk directly to the people who grow your food. - This year all of our whole wheat flour is 100% California grown. And in our white flour-- ALICE WATERS (VOICEOVER): This is where I've learned almost everything I know. And I'm still learning. - Next week. - Next week. ALICE WATERS (VOICEOVER): Farmers know the most about ripeness and taste. Ask them for help picking produce. - The nice thing about pears is they store well. - But you have to have a kind of cool place to put them. - Right at 32. - Oh, really? - Yeah, we keep them right at freezing. - How long do they last at 32? - Four months. - Four months. What I don't know. What I don't know. - We picked these in August. ALICE WATERS (VOICEOVER): Ask whether to use it that day or to let it ripen. - Yeah, when they start to shrivel right around the stem is when they're really sweet and juicy. ALICE WATERS (VOICEOVER): Always ask questions. This is the foundation of your edible education. I'm looking for food is good, clean, and fair. Here are some of the questions to ask at the grocery store or the market. All of the best cooks I know are sensualists who take pleasure in smell, taste, feel, and the beauty of real food. Tasting is the very best way to evaluate something. - Oh, my god. Yuzu, I've never seen this. ALICE WATERS (VOICEOVER): This is how you will develop your intuition and reawaken your ability to taste and discern. - That's fantastic. ALICE WATERS (VOICEOVER): You may think you know what a tomato or a carrot tastes like. But nothing compares to in-season, just picked produce. - We're just starting to get into that transition time from the summer crops and moving into a little bit of the chicories and the escaroles. ALICE WATERS (VOICEOVER): It should look and feel alive. - It's really beautiful. - This looks like a rose. ALICE WATERS (VOICEOVER): When you handle food that's alive and living, it will inspire you. Go to the market before you decide what to cook. Decide your menu based on what you find there. That will free you from an over-dependence on recipes. Every day when we cook at Chez Panisse, it's almost as if we're doing it for the first time. We don't work from recipes. We see what we have to cook with and build a menu together. I do the same thing at home. ALICE WATERS: Now I've got this chicken that needs to be unpacked-...

Farm-to-table cooking

Alice Waters started America’s farm-to-table revolution. When she founded the iconic restaurant Chez Panisse, her local, organic ingredients sparked a movement and earned her the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef. In her first-ever online cooking class, Alice opens the doors of her home kitchen to teach you how to pick seasonal ingredients, create healthy and beautiful meals, and change your life by changing the food you make at home.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Alice Waters is absolutely charming. She has inspired me to slow down and enjoy food and cooking more. I noticed so much more about my food today when I was at the market.

I want her to be my neighbor -Love her way of being - Her kitchen and sensual approach to food is an inspiration

I learned tons! She is truly amazing ! The only thing that was negative for me was the double and triple dipping of her fingers and spoon.

I loved this class. Alice Waters has a fresh approach to cooking.


Trisha G.

Looking forward to being inspired. Usually I try to have a menu plan before the shopping.

Regina D.

Can I have Alice Water's series as an individual DVD? I am watching this twice because it's so valuable. I wish I always had her classes to access. Thank you! It's truly changed me by bringing awareness and creativity.

Suzanne W.

Living 40 minutes from a grocery or Farmer's Market, planning is essential. However with a large veggie garden at home and limited supplies at stores, I am looking forward to learning to cook without a recipe and using what is available.

A fellow student

Like others, I'm not sure if I'm ready to convert all my grocery shopping to "build-a-menu-later" farmers' market, but I think I might try to start by shopping at the market for a full day of food rather than a whole week. Baby steps!


Interesting to watch. I am not yet confident to go to the market and buy ingredients without a menu in mind...I have hungry young men at my house!

Yvonne A.

Inspired me to look for a farmers market . I did not find exactly what I was looking for but found a community co-op where I can order all kinds of produce and support my local farmers.

Andrea H.

this one inspired me to look for our local farmers market. We are going on a field trip to check one out this weekend and next weekend I hope to visit another. I also have been learning to grow a garden. a bit of trial and error, some successes and some learning opportunities. But when it works the vegetables are so much tastier than what I find at the markets

A fellow student

I liked the idea of planning a meal with what she finds at the farmers market. I would like to know how she decides on the meal when she gets everything home. She touched on the Indian lunch but not what she will do with the chicken.

Mariann R.

I loved her trip to the farmers market. I would love to be able to shop like that. I live in northern NYS - it snowed May 8. We do have the ability to shop at farm stands during the summer months. We started a food co-op in our little town, but they have a tough time getting fresh produce in the off season. I hope that she might be able to address the challenges that many of us face with alternative plans for economic and local shopping challenges.

A fellow student

To live and experience the way Alice suggests, many people cannot afford to shop like that. Everything she says is true and honest. However, it is not realistic for many people. Enjoyed watching and listening to her.