Market Smarts

Three must-haves for your next farmers' market field trip

Hold that heirloom tomato.

Truly: The easily crushed vegetables of high farmers' market season can now be gingerly transported with a new bag and put to delicious use with a great new app and cookbook. Time to make that market trip a lot more fruitful:

Mercado Bag ($25 at Quirky): Nothing ruins a market haul like gravity. So to eliminate crushed produce, the crowdsourcing invention hub Quirky called out for a bag solution. Hundreds of designs were submitted, and toy designer Peter Wachtel came up with the Mercado. This sturdy canvas-and-mesh bag has three main compartments: One large section with elastic loops to hold long, unwieldy items, and two smaller sections with beefsteak-tomato-size pockets, perfect for delicate fruits.

Farmstand (free on iTunes): Think of this iPhone app as the love child of Foursquare and Instagram–assuming that their progeny had a taste for local produce. Farmstand is a mobile guide to 7,700 farmers' markets nationwide (8,600 globally) featuring nearby locations and operating hours, as well as snapshots of what items are currently available, uploaded by savvy shoppers.

River Cottage Veg ($35): It began with meat and fish. Now River Cottage's Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has turned a careful eye to vegetables, writing a smart, recipe-driven cookbook. And this is no staid vegetarian hymnal: Fearnley-Whittingstall always looks at food with fresh eyes, as with the book's tangy new potato salad "tartare."