What is your biggest challenge to eating fruits and veggies? Some common answers to that question are: they’re too expensive; I don’t know how to cook them; my kids won’t eat them; or I don’t like how they taste. Your local farmers market is a great tool to help overcome these obstacles. With a few tips, you will be on your way to a fresh farmers market meal!
1. Shop In Season
Fresh produce doesn’t have to be a budget buster. Did you know that produce at your local grocery store is often picked before it’s ripe? Fruits and veggies that aren’t locally grown or in season are harvested early, and shipped long distances. They are still good for you, but being picked early does have an effect on flavor. The shipping process also adds to the cost of produce. Shopping at your local farmers market is the perfect place to find locally grown, ripe produce at great prices. Click here to find a market near you.
2. Get The Kids on Board
The Family Dinner Project tells us that it is common for kids to be afraid to try new foods. A great way to overcome this barrier is to encourage them to be hands on with food. Take them to the farmers market and let them explore. Give them the opportunity to to touch, see, and smell a fruit or vegetables. This is a step in the right direction to get them to actually eat it. Maybe they have tried a certain fruit or veggie in the past and didn’t like it. Have them try it fresh, in season. Produce tastes so much better when it’s locally grown and naturally ripened.
Make Friends with a Farmer
When you discover a new food at the farmers market, don’t be afraid to ask the vendor for cooking tips or recipe ideas. Farmers are usually proud of their crop, and are excited to tell you all about it. Also, keep an eye out for a member of the Food $ense team. They have booths set up at many of the markets across the state of Utah. They will share plenty of recipe ideas and often have a food sample for you to try.
It’s always a good idea to be aware of food safety. The vendors at farmers markets should take steps to keep their food safe from harmful bacteria, but the buck doesn’t stop there. You need to know how to properly transport, clean, and store certain items you buy. Click here to read tips on keeping your food safe from food borne illness. If you want the best selection, arrive early at the market before things are picked over. On the other hand, shopping towards the end of the day might get you better prices on produce as the vendors try to clear out their booths.
Don’t Forget to Double Up
Many farmers markets across Utah accept EBT cards. Many also participate in Double Up Food Bucks, a program to help families with limited income take home affordable, fresh produce from local farmers. The best way to find out about the program is to subscribe to our monthly newsletter. Click here to subscribe.
Make A Farmers Market Meal
Don’t get weighed down by complicated recipes with a whole slew of ingredients. Keep your recipes simple by following MyPlate and focusing on a whole foods diet. Adding a seasoning, herb, or spice to the already delicious fresh produce is really all you need. To get started, read through our Create Amazing Veggies and Create A Fruity Dessert recipes. Also, click here to download our FREE farmers market recipe book. Check back in a couple of weeks for a new addition with even more farmers market recipes!
Here’s a little preview of what you’ll find in our new cookbook.
Potatoes are a great dinner staple. They are filling and can be prepared in many different ways. I prefer savory flavors over sweet flavors so when I saw this recipe for Salt and Vinegar Potatoes, I couldn’t wait to give it a try.
The recipe is simple, it’s flavorful, and it pairs with almost anything. I served it with a simple green salad topped with shredded chicken leftover from the night before, chopped up watermelon, and a glass of milk.
What farmers market meal will you make this week? Enjoy!