| Thu, Jul 03, 2014 @ 09:00 AM

Farmers Markets: Eat Fresh Produce for Good Health

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

farmers marketWith all the hype surrounding health and food, it can be hard to know what’s really good for you. There are a number of things you can do to eat healthier. Instead of a greasy cheeseburger and fries, try a veggie burger and fruit salad. Or, read food labels, so you know what you’re eating. You can also eat foods that don’t have labels at all, like fresh fruits and vegetables from the farmers market.

In Lisa Gosselin’s article, Eating in Season: A Recipe for Life, Preston Maring, M.D. says “Think what would happen if more people shopped for their food at farmers markets—eating the fruits and vegetables as they become ripe each season,” Maring continues. “People would discover just how good fresh produce can be—apricots that are picked ripe are so much tastier and more nutritious than those that have to be picked hard to endure shipping,” he notes. “Plus, these markets inspire people to try new vegetables, such as kohlrabi or mustard greens, and to cook more at home.”

According to Local Harvest Org, farmers markets are one of the oldest forms of direct marketing by small farmers. In the last decade, they have become a favorite marketing method for many farmers throughout the United States and a weekly ritual for many shoppers.

In addition to the health benefits you get from eating more fresh produce, shopping at the farmers market supports your community and encourages sustainable agriculture.

Not everything at farmers markets is locally grown

People assume that produce from the farmers markets is always local. That’s not always the case. There are farmers markets and then there are “farm markets” where buyers resell produce they bought at wholesale markets—sometimes from other states or countries. It’s still a good idea to eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies even if they’re not locally grown. But if you want the real deal, look for “producer-only” markets were the farmers grew the food they’re selling on their own farms.

Make the most of your trip to the farmers market.

  • Plan your menus for the week and make an ingredient’s shopping list.
  • Bring a shopping bag or basket.
  • Bring a cooler for meat and dairy and for fruits and veggies that may wilt in the heat.
  • Bring small bills. It’s easier for the seller to break a smaller bill than a larger one.
  • Pick a strategy. Some people like to walk through the whole market, looking at everything before deciding what to buy. Others hunt and gather their way through the market, buying as they go.

Know what you’re buying. Know where it’s grown. And keep eating healthy.

For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.

Resources:

How to Use Fruits and Vegetables to Help Manage Your Weight: CDC.gov

The Many Benefits of Eating Locally  Prevention.com

LocalHarvest Discover farmers markets, CSAs and more (LocalHarvest.org)

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