Think Smart at the Farmers Market
After gastric bypass or Lap Band surgery, check out the local farmers market to learn more about healthy food options near you.
There are a lot of benefits to shopping at the farmers market. Local farmers are front and center, displaying produce that they grew right down the street from you. By going to a weekly market you can learn what fruits and vegetables are in season and if they were grown organically or through the assistance of pesticides or genetic modification.
When you are going to the farmers market, it is important that you are prepared to encounter a number of food safety issues. These concerns shouldn’t scare you from trying out your local market, but instead should help you to have a positive experience your first time there.
Here are a few food safety tips to consider:
- Always wash the produce. A lot of farmers will offer free-samples, but don’t take it if it hasn’t been washed or stored properly. When you purchase your produce, go ahead and wash it first thing when you get home—before storing it in the fridge. This will ensure that you eliminate any traveling bacteria before contaminating other food in your home.
- Be wary of the dairy. Getting dairy from your local farmers market is a great way to purchase locally pasteurized eggs and milk, but make sure you know exactly what you are buying. If the milk hasn’t been pasteurized at all, then it may be at an increased risk for bearing food-borne illnesses. Talk with the farmer about any concerns you have.
- Make sure the meat is frozen solid. Especially during the summer there is always a chance of meat being left out a bit too long. You aren’t at a supermarket, so there isn’t someone monitoring the timeliness of food being shelved properly. The meat should be wrapped in plastic and frozen. If you are hesitant about the quality of the meat, then it may be a better idea to skip that part of your purchase.
Farmers markets provide a lot of local produce that you may not have realized is so readily available in your own backyard. When you purchase produce at the grocery store, much of it has travelled about 1,500 miles before being stocked on the shelves. This transporting process could include up to two-weeks on board different trucks. The fruit is often waxed and treated with preservatives to stay fresh for the journey. It is a lot easier to know what you are getting when you buy straight from the farmer, and you are helping out someone in your own community too.
Here are a few local farmers markets that you may want to check out:
- The Downtown Saginaw Farmers’ Market features locally grown produce, handmade soaps, honey and herbs. It will open up Memorial Day weekend running on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 am to 3 pm, and will be open on Saturday mornings starting in July.
- The Growing Hope Farmers’ Market in downtown Ypsilanti features fresh produce from local farms as well as urban farmers. This market is dedicated to rebuilding the downtown area and accepts food stamps. This market is open from May until October on Tuesdays from 2-6 pm.
- The Flint Farmers Market is one of the few in the area that is open year round. Unlike the seasonal outdoor markets, this market is hosted inside and features 30 vendors weekly. During the peak season, May until October, another 50 vendors join the Flint Farmers Market outside too. This market is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am to 5pm, and then on Saturdays from 8 to 5.