Monthly Archives: July 2015

Swiss Chard

Farmers’ Markets: Fun and Good for You, Too!

There are lots of benefits that come from eating fresh food that was grown locally, like the kinds you find at your farmers’ market.

  • Your SNAP card makes it easy for you to buy fresh and local at your farmers’ market.
  • Fresh is best! Fresh food just tastes better. The strawberries you get in December that were grown thousands of miles away just can’t compare to the ones that were just picked a day or so ago. Also, as food ages (like when it has to be shipped from another country) it loses nutrients. When you buy fresh and local, your food tastes best and is healthiest for you.
  • You know those nasty outbreaks of sickness from contaminated food you see on the news every so often? There’s less chance of that when you buy local. Less travel for your food means less handling, which means more safety.
  • Are you curious about what farmers use on their crops to keep bugs away and help the plants grow? Just ask them!
  • Buying local is good for the environment, which is good for you and your loved ones. The shorter the distance your food has to travel, the less pollution from airplanes, ships, trains, and trucks goes into the air and water.
  • Often, farmers grow produce that grocery stores don’t carry because they wouldn’t sell enough, so you get to find new foods at the farmers’ market. Just because you haven’t seen that funny-looking tomato at the store doesn’t mean that it’s not delicious!
  • What’s missing from all of the fruits and vegetables at the farmers’ market?
    • Mountains of salt, that causes high blood pressure (or makes it worse).
    • Added fat, and we all know what too much of that does. We need fat to live, but we should get it from lean meat, eggs, avocadoes, healthy oils like olive oil or canola oil, and nuts. Try having a few of your favorite nuts with your favorite fruit, or having an egg on top of some sautéed spinach or a half of a baked potato. It’s not the same as potato chips, but it’s way better for you, and you might just find your new favorite snack!
    • Table sugar – like the kind we put in coffee and bake with – sneaks into lots of foods, but you get a different sugar when you eat fruit. Sugar from fruit goes into your bloodstream more slowly, so you don’t get a sugar rush and then crash. Sugar from fruit is much better for people with diabetes than table sugar is.
    • Food coloring. Does it hurt? Some say that it does, some say that it doesn’t. Does it help? Nope. Definitely not, so why pay for it?
    • Have you every gotten a headache after eating Chinese takeout, fast food, or packaged food? That could be from MSG (monosodium glutamate). Some people are really sensitive to this, and fresh produce from the market has zero MSG, so you could literally be saving yourself a headache.
  • Want to learn more about how one family ate only local food for a year? Grab your library card and check out Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver.

 

Here’s what’s being picked this week*:

Cantaloupes

Peaches

Hot Peppers

Swiss Chard

*Availability will vary by market due to differences in growing zones.

Check out these recipes:

Swiss Chard

Peppers

Need a Reason to Shop at the Farmers Market?

Need a reason to shop at a farmers’ market? We have a few…

Within the past few years, farmers’ markets have become more and more popular. If you’re not used to shopping at them, it’s hard to see what the big deal is and when you’re used to shopping at your usual store the idea of changing up your routine isn’t very tempting.

There is a reason – several, actually – why so many people love going to the farmers’ market. Some of the most common are:

  • Many farmers’ market vendors now accept SNAP for fruits and vegetables, so buying them is, well, a snap.
  • Fruits and vegetables are in season, and picked at the peak of their flavor and nutritional value. In other words, they’re the best tasting and the best for you and your family.
  • When you shop at a farmers’ market, you’re supporting farmers in your community. Your local farms are basically small businesses, and they need community support to survive.
  • You know where your food comes from, and if you’re in a rural area, you may literally know the roads that some of these farms are on. At a farmers’ market, you won’t find any stickers saying “Product of Chile.”
  • If you’re not sure how to prepare something, you can be sure the farmer does. You’ll be surprised how much time you’ll spend chatting with the vendors, learning about their farms and their products (and not always because you have to, but because you want to!).
  • If the market is outside, you get fresh air, and our winters are too long to spend the nicer months indoors!

Here’s what’s being picked this week*:

Cherries

Raspberries

Lettuce

Greens

 

*Availability will vary by market due to differences in the climate county to county.