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Mission: Nutrition

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Taylorville FM

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

Farmers market season means another season of exploring the local produce in the area, visiting with neighbors, and supporting the local farmers. I made a goal this Summer to attend all the local farmers markets in Christian, Jersey, Macoupin, and Montgomery Counties. My first stop in my 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 the gorgeous Saturday morning in May I attended the downtown Taylorville Farmers Market, there was: vegetable plants such as cantaloupe, peppers, and tomatoes all set for planting,homemade jams, jellies, pastries, cookies, and other baked goods available. Individuals were also selling homemade crafts and even homemade dog treats to account 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! Check out a few of my tips based on my first trip to a Farmers Market in Illinois:

Tips for Based on My 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. Luckily, my trip to Taylorville was a beautiful Spring morning.
  • 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 let me know of upcoming produce they will be bringing in weeks to come. This may 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, I 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, for me it was a 45 minute commute from my home, bring a small cooler to keep produce cool. Wash hands for 20 seconds under warm water before and after preparation. When I brought the turnips home from the farmers market in Taylorville, I used a vegetable brush and removed any excess dirt. 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 .

I learned a lesson when working with turnips that I preach in my classes: never let one bad experience with a food turn you away from it completely. My 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 were not desirable. Cooking is all about trial and error and this recipe was not worth sharing. 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 my journey to all the farmers markets this Summer on Instagram: @eatlocalcjmm. Also, don't forget about upcoming programming or follow me on a twitter at @MSSNutrition.

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