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Lifestyle Choices for Wellness

Timely discussion on topics of health and wellness to encourage action and improvement in personal wellness.

6/10/2013-Farmers Market Season! Get Your Tips Here!

If you're like most Illinoians (77% precisely) whom consume less than the recommended 5 servings of fruits and veggies daily, as yourself: What's the hold up? Is it the price, are they too expensive? Do they go bad before you can use ?...or maybe you don't know how to use them in dishes? Or it could quite possibly be that you flat out, just think they are YUCKY.  Well, its farmer's markets to the rescue! Summer brings about those evening/weekend gatherings of vendors that peddle their awesome varieties of home grown freshness. It's a great way to pick up new foods, try them out, talk to the person that grew them, try a sample and maybe even get some recipes!

One of the best thing about produce from farmers markets is that it's grown locally so it can be picked at peak ripeness, transported fewer miles, and generally sold at lower prices. There is no middle man to rob you of a extra dollar here and there in transportation and taxes. Usually, you can get MORE product for a LOWER price- that's a win!

Not only is the food in many instances cheaper at a farmers market, but it tastes better too. When it's picked ripe that's when it's at peak freshness, peak flavor and peak nutrients. We know most Americans are not consuming enough fruits and vegetables, and we know taste is the number one motivator for eating them. You get the best of both worlds at a farmers market:  great price and great taste. A perfect combination.

Farmers markets are wonderful places to find a wide array of your favorite summer foods like tomatoes, berries, beets and herbs, but market-goers will find joy in discovering new foods as well. When you encounter a new fruit variety or vegetable you've never seen before, you're in the exact right place to find out more about it – you can ask the farmer who grew it! They will tell you everything about how it was grown, and also how to cook it and eat it!

Talking to the farmers is also a great idea if your goal is to buy organically grown foods. While shopping at a farmers market is a good way to get locally grown foods,  it's 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; some farmers make absolutely no claim to being organic; and some small organic farmers are permitted to call themselves "organic" but are not "certified organic."

To find your local markets and learn what your local farmers are harvesting right now, visit websites like and the USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food program. Even experienced farmers market patrons will benefit from these resources.

If you're a strategist, there are two "plans of attack" used to get the best results out of farmers market. If you want your pick of the most beautiful quality produce imaginable, you'll need to arrive before the crowds. If you want deals, however, go ahead and sleep in. You can often take the "rejects" home for a bargain. However,if you wait until the end of the day, (not only will) the produce not be the prettiest, (but) there may not be much left.

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