National Farmers Market Week is almost here

Summer is here which means warm weather, a break from school, and farmers markets. Shopping at a local farmer’s market offers many benefits for individuals and the community. National Farmers Market week 2018 is Aug. 5-11. This week would be a great opportunity to get out in the community, learn more about your local farmers and produce, and come home with delicious goodies for the family.

Why shop farmers markets?

Farmers Markets support local economies by eliminating the “middle man” and allowing more benefit to the farmer, preserving farmland and rural livelihood. Shopping at a farmer’s market also allows customers to engage with other community members and learn more about where their food is coming from and the farmers who are growing it.

Saving money another benefit of farmers markets. Because the farmers are able to sell their product directly to the consumer, prices are often lower than grocer’s. Many farmers markets also accept EBT/SNAP transactions for fresh produce, increasing availability of fresh food for low-income families.

Produce from farmers markets typically comes from local farms, guaranteeing the consumer is receiving the freshest in-season produce. In-season produce is higher in nutrients and often better tasting as it is picked at the peak of freshness.

What’s in season?

Summer is a great time for fresh produce. In season produce includes but is not limited to: apples, beets, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, bell peppers, carrots, melon, corn, cucumber, eggplant, green beans, peaches, summer squash and zucchini, tomatoes and more.

Tips for the farmers market

• Choose something unique each trip — Get your children involved and try a new type of produce each week.

• Get to know your farmers — Strike up a conversation with vendors and learn more about them. For example: Where is their farm? Do they grow organic? What is their favorite way to prepare their produce?

• Plan your meals around your trip — Search for recipes that allow you to implement the different foods from your trip in different ways.

• Don’t forget about food safety — Be sure to wash your produce before consuming.

Shop local

Jefferson City has several farmers markets in different areas and times for your convenience. Enjoy the weather, snatch up some delicious food, and support your local farmers markets for National Farmers Market week.

Rachel Werner is a registered dietitian at SSM Health/St. Mary’s in Jefferson City. She received her Bachelor of Science in dietetics from Missouri State University in 2016 and completed 1,200 hours of supervised practice in Jefferson City through Lenoir-Rhyne University’s distance dietetic internship. During her internship, Werner had the opportunity to work alongside dietitians and other nutrition and health professionals in the Mid-Missouri community. She completed clinical experience at SSM Health/St. Mary’s where she was offered a position and is currently employed as a clinical dietitian.