Get fresh, local fruits and vegetables at farmers markets
Summer is here! And it’s the perfect time of year to focus on healthy eating. While there are several steps to healthy eating, one step that is easily attainable during the summer months is to consume a variety of fruits and vegetables. One place to find these fresh, colorful and delicious fruits and vegetables is your local farmers market.
Food from farmers markets tastes much better than what is found at grocery stores because it is locally grown, naturally ripened and has experienced less travel time. As we all know, fruits and vegetables are filled with fiber and essential vitamins and minerals, as well as being naturally low in calories. Eating fruits and vegetables can reduce your risk for heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer. Additionally, fiber in fruits and vegetables can help relieve constipation.
Best of all, fresh fruits and vegetables taste good. Because they are so tasty, we can easily eat the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables. Set a goal this summer to make half of your plate fruits and vegetables by following the USDA’s My Plate method.
Get your fruits and vegetables at the farmers market
Farmers market shopping is increasing in popularity as farmers markets become more common in cities and towns. However, if this is your first time visiting a market, start small; choose produce you know how to prepare. Find ingredients for your favorite salads, and vegetables that you enjoy for side dishes. Before purchasing, think about how much fruit you will eat in one week since fruit does become over-ripe. Here’s a Hint: Placing fruit in the refrigerator will prevent it from over-ripening, or toss it in the freezer to make smoothies on another day.
Challenge yourself with a new ingredient next time you go to a farmers market and don’t hesitate to speak with the local farmers and gardeners. They will happily share information about their produce, how it is grown and suggestions for successfully preparing it. There may even be recipes offered for you to try at home. Keep in mind that foods at a farmers market change often. Come with ideas of what you would like to purchase, but be flexible if that food item is not available. Remember: Locally grown produce will not always look perfect, but it is fresh, recently picked, delicious, and jam-packed with nutrients that help your body function at peak performance.
The Indiana Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP)
The Indiana Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) began in 2002 under the Indiana WIC program. Indiana WIC partners with the Family and Social Services Administration Division on Aging and local area agencies on aging (AAAs), such as CICOA, to serve eligible seniors. The local AAAs determine eligibility, provide nutrition education, and distribute checks to participating, income-eligible seniors. Interested seniors should contact their local AAA for information.
*CICOA provides senior farmers market checks to help area seniors and individuals in need with purchasing and enjoying fresh, local produce. These checks are redeemable at state-approved SFMNP markets in eight counties: Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Marion, Morgan and Shelby.
Farmers Market Checks Distribution Days at CICOA:
8440 Woodfield Crossing Blvd., Suite 175 Indianapolis, IN 46240
- Friday, June 21 from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
- Thursday, June 27 from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
- Thursday, July 11 from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.