It's Farmer's Market Week!

The first full week of August is National Farmers’ Market Week. Harvests of peaches, tomatoes, corn, peppers, blueberries, watermelon and other favorite fruits and vegetables are pouring in all month, making August a great time to celebrate the bounty of Maryland farms.

Why shop at farmers’ markets? 
Farmers’ markets allow farmers to sell produce and other foods directly to their customers. This means that farmers’ market produce is often picked and sold within 24 hours. It is fresher than grocery store produce, which travels to a warehouse before reaching the store. Fresh produce is tasty produce!
Because farmers are selling produce when it is plentiful, farmers’ market produce can be very affordable. You can use SNAP and WIC benefits at many farmers’ markets.
Where is my closest farmers’ market?
Farmers’ markets are typically open at a given location once or twice a week. To find a farmers’ market close to your home and their open hours, visit the Maryland Farmers’ Market Association website and enter your address. The site allows you to search for markets that accept SNAP and WIC benefits, as well as those that participate in Maryland Market Money, an incentive program to stretch benefit dollars spent on healthy foods at farmers’ markets. 

How to shop at a farmers’ markets
Bring cash or your FMNP/WIC coupons, or use your EBT card if the market accepts SNAP benefits. Visit each stand and pay for items as you select them. Ask the farmers questions about their produce—most love sharing their growing methods or cooking ideas with their customers.

Remember food safety
While it is tempting to sample a ripe peach right after you purchase it, fresh produce should always be washed thoroughly in clean water before eating. Even produce with rinds you don’t eat, such as melons, should be washed to prevent bacteria from being transferred to the flesh during cutting.

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© Eat Smart, Be Fit Maryland!Maira Gall