Thursday, July 8, 2010

12 Reasons for Visiting a Farmers' Market

12 Reasons for Visiting a Farmers' Market
by Alice Henneman, MS, RD

Whether you've never visited a farmers' market, are a frequent visitor or just enjoy the fresh taste of local foods, this month's Food Reflection's offers a little something for everyone:

1. Start by reading the following short article on "12 Reasons for Visiting a Farmers' Market."
2. Download a copy of the article. Use it for a bulletin board or handout ... add information about farmers' markets in your area.
3. Enjoy a short 1-minute video showing several pictures left out of the article.
4. Download a short, related PowerPoint, "12 Reasons for Visiting a Farmers' Market." Include some or all of these reasons for attending a farmers' market in a presentation you're giving!
5. Access a link to several recipes for fresh produce -- many also can be used as program handouts or at farmers' markets.
6. Obtain more information on shopping at farmers' markets and download a free PowerPoint, "The Garden Grocery: Food Safety & Selection at the Farmers' Market."

To begin ... here are 12 great reasons to visit a farmers' market.

1. Find foods not available in a grocery store.tomato bruschetta

2. Take home a truly tasty tomato! Make a tomato, basil, and olive oil bruschetta or other recipe!

3. Enjoy really fresh sweet corn. Fresh from the field means fantastic flavor!

4. Purchase a pretty plant you know will grow in your state because it was locally grown in your state.

5. Meet with a master gardener. Extension master gardeners are available at some of the Farmers' Markets. They'll answer your garden questions and help make your garden grow!

purple cauliflower meal6. Make memorable meals. The meal at right features toasted sunflower wheat bread with lettuce and smoked bacon cheese; kale sauteed in olive oil with green onions and garlic; purple (graffiti) cauliflower ... all from one Farmers' Market!

7. Have fun with your family and friends. Many Farmers' Markets feature special events, such as cooking demonstrations, music, festivals, and more.

8. Get really fresh food that didn't travel long distances to reach you. Freshly picked produce not only tastes better, but keeps longer, too! Look for the Buy Fresh Buy Local sign used many places to identify locally grown produce.

9. Buy a beautiful bouquet of locally grown flowers.
strange squash

10. Get to know your farmer. Ask questions about how the food was grown, how to cook it, and more.

11. Support your local economy. If every household spent $10 every week on locally-produced food, think how much could stay in your local economy each week.

12. Farmers' Markets are full of surprises -- you never know what you might see!

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