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Dietitians Dish: Shop at a farmers market

By By Elizabeth Sommerfeld
July 16, 2013 at 2:16 a.m.

Elizabeth Sommerfeld

Farmers markets are a great way to bring fruits and veggies your house. These markets provide easy access to farm fresh items. The items provided at farmers markets are typically brought straight from the farm and have been picked at the peak of their freshness.

Foods at farmers markets are also typically in season, so you will find the best fruits and vegetables that have been harvested. Farmers markets not only appeal to consumers looking to find nice, fresh produce but also to those wanting to shop locally and cut down on transportation costs.

Many times, these foods are cheaper than area grocery stores because the transportation cost has been cut out or at least minimized. The farmer is typically the only person involved.

He or she spent the time harvesting the food, loading it into the vehicle and setting up shop at the market. There is much less time and people involved than the typical transportation involved in bringing items to grocery stores.

Another benefit to farmers markets is that you can actually talk to the farmer. You can ask the farmer how and where the items were grown, fertilized and harvested. Farmers can also provide expertise on how to store the food items or even the best recipe to use what you are purchasing.

You may find a farmers market a great place to purchase new fruits or vegetables and find a way to cook these new items as well. This is also a great way to make sure that the items are actually locally grown as some vendors might supplement their items from grocery stores.

Get your kids involved in buying food. This is a great place to take your children and let them learn how foods are grown directly from the source. Consider giving your children a few dollars and letting them purchase a food that they want to try at home. You may find this is a great way to get kids interested in fruits and vegetables.

You can find your area farmers market by entering your zip code at the USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food program. By putting in the Victoria zip code, I found farmers markets in Victoria, Cuero, Rockport-Fulton, Wharton and Corpus Christi.

Another website, LocalHarvest.org, can help you find not only farmers markets, but restaurants, co-ops and farms that provide locally grown foods. There are also other markets that might be in your area, such as Ganado Farmer and Handmade Market, which you can find on Facebook.

Search on social media or ask around for areal co-ops or markets in your area. Keep farmers markets on your list of things to do one weekend; you may find it an enjoyable way to do your grocery shopping.

Elizabeth Sommerfeld is the Clinical Nutrition Manager/Bariatric Coordinator at DeTar Healthcare Systems. She is a registered and licensed dietitian and has a master of science degree. Send questions or comments to dietitians@vicad.com.

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