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Shopping the farmers markets

July 7, 2011 - Kathie Evanoff
Farmers market time is here and just about every community has some sort of home-grown produce available for purchase as soon as the gardens start exploding.

If you’re not used to shopping at a local farmers market, you might find it overwhelming at first. When faced with tables filled with fresh greens, piles of fresh-picked corn, bunches of radishes and onions, it is tempting to fill up our shopping bags with everything that looks good.

Then we get all that produce home and realize there is no way we can eat all of that before it starts to decompose. So we end up tossing it out or hopefully, at least, tossing it on the compost heap.

There are a few things you can consider when you are planning to visit the farmers market. Keep in mind what you plan to cook for the next few days and shop accordingly.

Fresh vegetables should be prepped as soon as you bring them home. Then when you’re ready to cook or chop them into salads, most of the work is finished.

Trim the greens and swish them gently in a bowl of water to get the dirt and sand off the leaves. I like to put my leaves onto paper towels and gently roll them up before putting them in gallon-size storage bags. I also leave one corner of the bag unsealed before I put them in the fridge. This allows for a bit of air circulation and helps keep the produce fresh a few extra days.

Clean and cut carrots, cucumbers, beans, pea pods and other snacking vegetables and store them in snack bags or containers for easy grabbing when you’re packing your lunch. Keeping snacking vegetables within easy reach will help when those snack attacks hit and you find yourself looking for cookies.

It’s always fun to try new things, so don’t be afraid to buy that kohlrabi bulb or jicama root and look up a new recipe on the Internet. Just be sure to buy only what you plan to use to avoid waste. Farmers markets are around for such a short time in our area. We should get out and enjoy them while we can because before long we’ll be missing that fresh, locally grown food.


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