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University of Illinois Extension serving Christian, Jersey, Macoupin and Montgomery Counties

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Hillsboro, IL 62049
Phone: 217-532-3941
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Email: uie-cjmm@illinois.edu
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Taylorville, IL 62568
Phone: 217-287-7246
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Jerseyville, IL 62052
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Branch Office (Macoupin County)
#60 Carlinville Plaza
Carlinville, IL 62626
Phone: 217-854-9604
FAX: 217-854-7804
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News Release

Accent photo

First Farmers Market of the Season: Taylorville Farmers Market and Terrific Turnips

TAYLORVILLE, IL. Farmers market season means another season of exploring the local produce in the area, visiting with neighbors, and supporting local producers. Lisa Peterson, Nutrition and Wellness Educator with University of Illinois Extension has made a goal this summer to attend all the local farmers markets in Christian, Jersey, Macoupin, and Montgomery Counties.

The first stop in her adventure was the Taylorville downtown farmers market in Christian county. This farmers market, located on the town square, runs from 9:00am-12:30pm on Saturdays through September. On a gorgeous Saturday morning in May, Lisa attended the downtown Taylorville Farmers Market, there was a large selection of vegetable plants such as cantaloupe, peppers, and tomato sets for planting, homemade jams, jellies, pastries, cookies, and other baked goods were also available. Individuals were selling homemade crafts and even homemade dog treats for furry friends who joined their owners for some fresh air on their trip to the farmers market. Of course, it wouldn't be a farmers market without local produce. “Vendors were also selling strawberries, lettuce, asparagus, green onions, and more.” said Peterson.  Here are some of Lisa’s tips based on her first trip to a Farmers Market in Illinois:

Tips Based on Lisa’s First Trip to the Farmers Market in Illinois

  • Consider the weather: Before leaving for the farmers market check the weather, and dress and prepare accordingly. Will you need a coat? Umbrella? This may seem silly, but could hinder the farmers market experience if you're shivering or sweating.
  • Bring your own bag: All the vendors are extremely accommodating when it came to providing bags, but it's a good idea to have heavy duty bag to bring with to make transporting easier. If you know you will be purchasing a large amount of items, it's a great idea to invest in a wagon or a wheeled cart
  • Come early: Most farmers' markets work on a first come, first serve basis. The best selection is early in the morning, especially with popular produce.
  • Talk to the producers: Ask the farmers about their produce. One vendor shared what upcoming produce they’re bringing in the weeks to come. This can help you meal plan.
  • Try something new: Unsure about certain fruits and vegetables? Purchase a new fresh fruit or vegetable in small amounts to liven up your pallet and support local Illinois farmers. In this case, Lisa had never tried turnips before and purchased two small bags.

When coming home from the farmers market, keep food safety in mind. If you're traveling far, bring a small cooler to keep produce cool. Wash hands for 20 seconds under warm water before and after preparation. Lisa used a vegetable brush and removed any excess dirt from the turnips she brought home from the farmers market in Taylorville. Turnips can be kept up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator, 8-10 months frozen, or one year canned using a pressure canner. Learn more about canning turnips through the National Center of Home Food Preservation .

Lisa learned a lesson when working with turnips that she teaches in her classes: never let one bad experience with a food turn you away from it completely. Her first attempt with the turnips was to create turnip noodles using a spiral slicer. “After sautéing with a few other vegetables and herbs and spices, the turnips flavor and texture was not desirable”, said Peterson. Cooking is all about trial and error and this recipe was not worth sharing. Lisa said “I refused to give up on turnips and found success with taste and flavor by roasting them the following night with a recipe that enhanced the flavor of the locally grown turnips”.

Turnips are a great low calorie, fat and cholesterol free side dish with only 17 calories per half cup and high in vitamin C. Try a new lemon and rosemary roasted turnip recipe below the whole family will enjoy and don't forget to visit the Taylorville Farmers Market this spring.

Lemon and Rosemary Roasted Turnips

3 cups turnips, diced

1 tsp. oregano, dried

1 Tbs. olive oil

1 tsp. rosemary, dried

1/3 cup low sodium chicken broth

2 Tbs. lemon juice

3 garlic cloves, minced

½ tsp. salt (optional & not included in the nutrition facts)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix oil, broth, garlic, oregano, rosemary, and lemon juice together in a small bowl. Toss with diced turnips.

On a cookie sheet, or shallow pan, place coated turnips in the oven for 25 minutes. Take out and flip. Bake another 25 minutes and serve.

Nutrition Facts (1/2 cup per serving,6 servings): 45 calories, 2.5 grams total fat, 50 mg. sodium, 5 g. carbohydrates, 1 g. dietary fiber, 1 g. protein.

Want to see more pictures? Follow Lisa’s journey to all the farmers markets this summer on Instagram: @eatlocalcjmm. Also, don't forget about upcoming nutrition and wellness programing offered by Extension (Visit http://web.extension.illinois.edu/cjmm/ for upcoming events.) or follow Lisa on a twitter at @MSSNutrition.

For more information about this or other nutrition and wellness programs, please contact your local Extension office.

Local Contact: Lisa Peterson, Extension Educator, Nutrition and Wellness, lap5981@illinois.edu