Shop at a farmers market for fresh fruits and vegetables

‘Tis the season for maximizing our produce intake, and farmers markets are an excellent place to start.  We know most Americans are not consuming enough fruits and vegetables, and we know taste is the number one motivator for eating them. Farmers market produce tastes better because it is picked ripe when it is at peak freshness, flavor and nutrients. It is the perfect combination of great taste at great prices.

Pick Your Shopping Strategy

For the clever shopper, there are two strategies to get the best result out of the farmers market. If you want your pick of the most beautiful, magazine-shoot-quality produce imaginable, you will need to arrive before the crowds.

If you want deals, however, go ahead and sleep in. Often if you go at the end of the day, you can walk away with tomatoes at a ridiculously cheaper price. Unfortunately the down side to this would be if you wait until the end of the day the tomatoes may not be the prettiest or there might not be any left. If you have a sense of adventure, you can prepare foods based upon whatever deals you can find.

Talk With the Farmers

Talking with the farmers is a great idea if your goal is to buy organically grown foods. Shopping at a farmers market is a good way to get locally grown foods, but it is not necessarily a guaranteed way to get organic foods.

Some farmers say they use organic methods, but choose not to submit to the process required to legally use the term. Some farmers use a mixture of organic and conventional methods. Other farmers make absolutely no claim to being organic, while some are permitted to call themselves “organic” but may not be “certified organic.” You need to ask, “Is your produce locally grown, and are you certified to be an organic farm?”

The AAMC Farmers Market is open Fridays from 10:30 am – 1:30 pm through Oct. 25. It is held in the Hospital Pavilion South (ground level) located at 2001 Medical Parkway.


Caldwell Shackelford Photo3

By Ann Caldwell and Maureen Shackelford, nutritionists and registered dietitians at Anne Arundel Medical Center. To reach them call 443-481-5555.

Originally published June 26, 2015. Last updated June 24, 2019.

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