5 Ways You Can Make The Most Of Your Farmers Market
In many regions, summer is the prime time to shop for produce; many fruits and vegetables are at their peak of both flavor and price. Cold, juicy fruit can be a great afternoon snack when it’s hot outside, and many summer vegetables are great for grilling. Filling half of your plate with fruits and vegetables is recommended by the USDA for good health because fruits and vegetables are full of nutrients like vitamin C and fiber.
A great way to make sure you get enough fruits and vegetables daily is by shopping at a farmers market. Farmers markets offer a large variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as other products such as fresh bread, cheese, honey, sauces, and more! Most farmers markets accept SNAP and WIC cards, and many farmers sell their produce at a lower cost than a grocery store would. Farmers markets also sell many lesser known fruits and vegetables such as kohlrabi or rhubarb.
Here are 5 ways you can make the most of your farmers market:
BYOB- Bring Your Own Bags: Some stands may offer plastic bags, but many do not. Be prepared by bringing your own reusable grocery bag, plastic bag, or whatever you can to carry your produce in. The bigger the bag the more fruits and vegetables you can carry!
Be prepared for what is in season: Because farmers markets offer locally grown produce, some regions will have food that others won’t. For example, some regions may offer avocados, while others will have wild blueberries. For a list of regional produce by season, click this link! http://localfoods.about.com/od/searchbyregion/
Don’t be too picky: When you shop at a farmers market, you will find fruits and vegetables of all shapes and sizes. Because they are grown and picked by smaller farm businesses rather than large industries, not all produce will be a uniform size or shape. Many will appear lopsided, be smaller or larger, or will even look funny. It’s important to realize that this is okay, and does not mean the produce is bad! Keep an eye out for bruises or worm holes in the produce before you buy it.
Let the kids help pick: Get your children engaged in nutrition and healthy eating by bringing them to the farmers market and letting them pick some produce. Let them get a feel for what local produce looks like, and have them pick out some food for a meal. If the children are involved in the planning and cooking process, they are more likely to eat the nutritious food!
Make use of leftovers: Like the grocery store, you will probably be offered better deals if you buy in bulk. Buying in bulk may mean you will have plenty of leftovers, which you can then use in the upcoming week’s lunch or dinner. You may also have to experiment with preserving your leftovers, through freezing, canning, drying, or making jam. Freezing fresh berries will mean you will have some for the winter. You can also can many vegetables for sauces!
To find a farmers market near you, click here! http://search.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/
Written by Alyssa Simon
Written on Jul 15, 2014
Last updated on Apr 02, 2015