The original item was published from June 13, 2017 11:32 AM to June 14, 2017 11:24 AM
FIND FLAVORFUL FOODS AT FARMERS MARKETS
Neighborhood produce stands have sold fresh fruits and vegetables for centuries, but today’s farmers markets have become more complex. Along with whole produce available from home gardens or area farms, St. Charles County markets now sell packaged foods; jellies, jams and preserves; fresh meats, eggs and cheeses; home-made crafts; and fully prepared meals.
The Division of Environmental Health and Protection works with market directors and vendors to help ensure consumer safety at St. Charles County markets. If a vendor one sells or gives away potentially hazardous goods, environmental health professionals will inspect the products before they open to the public. Potentially hazardous goods are any foods that can support the rapid and progressive growth of harmful organisms. Examples of these hazardous food items include (but are not limited to): fresh meats and poultry; fresh milk and dairy products; items cooked at the booth; eggs; and other perishable foods. Vendors who have questions about their need for obtaining a temporary food license to serve at a St. Charles County farmers market should call 636-949-1800.
The division helps farmers market vendors with their products because fruits, vegetables and other locally produced goods are a great way to add color to your plate and improve your health. These products have more flavor and taste better when sold at their peak. And, since the products are picked locally, fresh from the soil or tree, they often cost less — making farmers markets the perfect place to collect a few favorites or expand your palate by sampling something new. Visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for tips on selecting and storing various types of fruits and vegetables.
The USDA recommends that Americans fill at least half their plates with fruits and vegetables. Studies show that a diet high in these fresh foods is associated with a decreased risk for heart diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure and some cancers. Fruits and vegetables are also good sources for important nutrients like potassium, vitamins A and C, folate and fiber. Here is a sampling of the benefits you can gain:
- Red fruits and vegetables (such as watermelon, apples, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers and beets) – promote heart health, improve memory and reduce certain cancer risks
- Orange fruits and vegetables (such as cantaloupe, mangos, carrots and sweet potatoes) – improve eyesight, lower cholesterol and reduce blood pressure
- Blue and purple fruits and vegetables (such as blueberries, prunes and eggplant) – boost the immune system, reduce cancer risks and aid in digestion
- Green fruits and vegetables (such as melons, grapes, avocado, spinach, broccoli and peas) – lower blood pressure, reduce cancer risks, strengthen bones and aid vision
Visiting a weekly farmers market may add a little more time to your shopping schedule, but buying locally grown foods can benefit your family and your community. We hope you enjoy the flavors!
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