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Posts Tagged ‘Farmers' markets’

Tents at a Farmers' Market

Mid-May and farmers’ markets are back. Farmers’ markets are great places to get fresh produce (often picked that morning) and get inspired to eat and/or cook with fresh ingredients. Since this is the beginning of the fresh produce season in Ohio, produce will probably be limited for a few weeks.  Produce you may find include:

  • fresh lettuces
  • green onions
  • asparagus
  • rhubarb
  • herbs
  • mushrooms
  • strawberries
  • cabbage
  • radishes

Some producers may have other produce which they grew in a green house or purchased from someone in a southern state. These can be delicious too. 

To locate a farmers’ market near you check here. Most farmers’ markets have other items for sale too, such as baked goods, honey, jams/jelly, soap, plants, meat, eggs, cheese and others. There have been gift items, jewelry, homemade cards and décor items at a local farmers’ market I visit. Some farmers’ markets require you to order ahead for pick up. Other ones are open for people to walk around and check out what is available.   

If you are looking for organic food items, many farmers’ markets have a wide variety of options that may be certified organic or grown with specific practices that vendors would be happy to share with you.

Not sure what to look for when purchasing foods in season now? 

strawberries in pint containers
  • Choose loose leaf lettuce over iceberg for more nutritional benefits. Choose lettuce with healthy outer leaves that are green and crisp, not withered and/or with brown or yellow edges. Darker green colors indicate higher nutritional value, and don’t negligent the purple edges or other darker colors as those contain other good nutrients. Don’t forget to choose spinach, kale, and collards. Choose firm, heavy heads of cabbage. 
  • Fresh strawberries from the farmers’ market are delicious. They are usually ripe all the way through, smell wonderful, and taste great. They may not last as long in the refrigerator as grocery store ones, but they have so much more taste. 
  • Choose asparagus that have stalks able to stand up with firm heads, and a smooth texture. 
  • Mushrooms should look fresh and smell good. One surprising fact is you can’t overcooking your mushrooms. Whether sautéing mushrooms quickly or in an hour-long dish cooking in the oven mushrooms retain a firm texture. Enjoy them in many different dishes.   
  • The size of rhubarb stalks are not important. If you want a sweeter and richer taste choose deep red stalks, which are usually not as tart. Mixing rhubarb and strawberries in a pie helps reduce the sugar needed to keep it from being tart. Check out this Rhubarb Strawberry Topping for pancakes, ice cream and yogurt. Rhubarb stalks are a good source of potassium. Don’t eat the leaves of rhubarb as they are poisonous. 

Another one that can’t be beat at the farmers’ market is when they have fresh tomatoes, usually in July, August and September. It’s a explosion of flavor in your mouth compared to eating store purchased tomatoes. 

Enjoy buying from a local farmer’s market as it supports your local economy. Check out what day your local farmers’ market happens and go shopping!

Author:  Pat Brinkman, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Fayette County

Reviewer:   Emily Marrison, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Coshocton County

Sources:

Franzen-Castle, L. (2021). Healthy Bites for May: National Asparagus Month. University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension.  Available at https://food.unl.edu/healthy-bites-may-national-asparagus-month

Ohio Proud. (2021). Find a Farmer’s Market.   Available at http://ohioproud.org/farm-markets-all/farmers-market-search/find-a-farmers-market/#!directory/map

Tufts University, (2021). “Five Fun Food Facts You Should Know,” Health & Nutrition Letter, Tufts University, Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, 39 (2) p.6

University of Illinois Extension. (2021). “Watch Your Garden Grow Rhubarb,” University of Illinois Extension.  Available at https://web.extension.illinois.edu/veggies/rhubarb.cfm

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