Chris4Life Launches Changes4Life Series : FRESHFARM Markets Offers 14 Handy Tips on Making Your Way Around a Farmers Market
Summer (swimsuit season!) is for all intents and purposes HERE.Â However, every season offers us an invitation to make positive changes in our lifestyles, better decisions, and healthy living choices to look better and feel better.Â Think about it.Â January is the new year, spring is clean out the closet/out with the old in with the new, summer presents the old “get into your bathing suit in front of everyone” moment, and fall, well fall, is like the new school year, back from summer vacation, ready to turn over a new leaf.Â Some of us take on every trend seasonally for a few weeks, then meh, fall of the wagon.Â That my friend, is not a good thing and believe me you, I know. The “up and down diet/in and out of the gym” standard catches up to you and doctors will tell you, a consistent healthy way of living is what is going to keep you in a good state.
Our Punch Partner Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation has developed the Changes4Life series to show how to incorporate a Positive and Preventative Lifestyle simply into our everyday lives.Â Slowly and surely integrating standards of living that prevent cancer, which are cleansing, realistic, enjoyable, DO-able, and have longevity is the goal.Â Let’s think of sound MIND, BODY, SPIRIT.Â We are talking FOOD, EXERCISE, DE-STRESSING, FUN.Â It’s time to do what you can because you have the power and the resources.Â After all, aren’t we all in the pursuit of happiness and solid health?Â We never want to look back on our lives and say, “If only I had … or hadn’t ….”Â By then, it’s too late.
To kick off the series we asked some folks from our very backyard to help us, FRESHFARM Markets.Â FRESHFARM Markets allows us to pick and choose some of the best of the best of local produce weekly in a variety of D.C. locales, however, we (some of us) might find venturing to these types of markets confusing or intimidating, even though we know, these types of foods or GOOD FOR YOU.Â You can easily find cancer fighting nutritious eats like spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, berries, and of course there is an abundance of herbs with which to flavor your chicken, beef, eggs, salads, and so on.Â There is much to be found at a farmers market.Â With that, here are some great tips:
How to Get the Most Out of Shopping at a Farmers Market
Whether youâ€™re green to farmers markets or a seasoned shopper, here are 14 handy tips that will help you get the most out of your next visit to the farmers market.
1) Start off your shopping by doing a tour of the market so you can check out each of the market stands. This will give you the chance to locate products and farmers you you like and want to come back to.
2) Toting reusable bags is just the beginning! Given our steamy summers, an insulated cooler bag (and some reusable freezer packs) will keep your meat, poultry, eggs and dairy from spoiling and your tender greens fresh and perky. To protect delicate berries and cherry tomatoes, repurpose plastic clamshell containers (the ones you get with your grab-and-go lunch) or bring other reusable lidded containers for these market dainties.
3) Brings lots of small bills. This will speed up your purchasing and the farmers will thank you!
4) Arrive as early as possible to avoid the crowds and to have the best selection from which to choose. Looking for a bargain? Arrive near closing and you might be able to snag a good deal on extra product that a farmer might not want to take back to the farm.
5) Donâ€™t let the rain keep you away. Farmers markets are rarely, if ever, canceled and the farmers and producers will be thrilled to see you.
6) Introduce yourself. Farming is hard and often solitary work and many farmers love the bustle of market days and talking with their customers. Develop a rapport with your farmer. Ask them about their farming and growing practices, whatâ€™s in season and the best way to use their vegetables.
7) Shop outside your comfort zone. Buy things you havenâ€™t tried before and ask the farmer or producer their favorite way to prepare it. Donâ€™t shy away from root vegetables with dirt clinging to them and greens still attached. This means they are super fresh.
8) Extend the seasons yourself by buying in bulk for canning or freezing. Often if you order ahead, a farmer might cut you a deal. If the prospect of canning is daunting, look to see if your favorite farmers market offers canning demos, or enlist a friend and can together.
9) Visit our market information stand to pick up recipes for whatâ€™s in season. We have a recipe box at every market and 15 years of recipes you can access through our searchable recipe database on our website.
10) Check out the Chef at Market cooking demonstrations at our markets to pick up new ideas and to get a sample of tasty seasonal and local cooking. .
11) Know your seasons. Prices fluctuate throughout the year based on whatâ€™s in season and how much of a product a farmer has on hand. Buy items like tomatoes or strawberries and other fruits and vegetables when they are plentiful. Odds are youâ€™ll get a better price.
12) Recognize there are all kinds of farms at market who utilize different growing practices. The great thing is you can ask how everything is grown and get an answer from a human being, quite possibly the person who grew your purchases, not a label. Here are a few of the different ways foods are grown: â€“ greenhouses, hydroponic, organic, conventional, on pasture, and using integrated pest management. Ask the farmer which they practice and what these mean.
13) Plan ahead. Recognize that each market has a different personality and different farmers and producers. Our markets range from small to large, depending on the neighborhood. They all have quality food and products. Big doesnâ€™t always mean best; best can mean what fits a neighborhood and the location of a market. FRESHFARM Markets are producer only. This means everything at market was grown by the people who are behind the market stands. Producer only is a guarantee of authenticity. Also our farmers and producers come from the Chesapeake Bay watershed, within a 200-mile radius of Washington, DC. Go here to find out moreÂ www.freshfarmmarket.org.
14) Sign up to receive FRESHFARM Markets weekly ENews or follow your favorite market, farmer or producer on Facebook and Twitter. This is a great way to find out what products are going to be a market and other activities happening at market.
Thank you FRESHFARM Markets.Â Folks, now you are well equipped with the smartest ways to maneuver through a farmers market.Â Eating right is just one component of living right.Â Chris4Life presents Changes4Life will be back monthly with more ideas covering mind, body, spirit.Â If you have suggestions, please email me at email@example.com.
FRESHFARM Markets is the leading voice for farmers markets in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region and a national leader in the local food movement. The mission of FRESHFARM Markets is to educate the public about food and environmental issues, and to provide vital economic opportunities for local farmers. As a non-profit organization building a vibrant local food community in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, FRESHFARM Markets operates 10 producer-only farmers markets with more than 110 farmers and producers from five states who farm more than 9,000 acres. The markets attract over 360,000 shoppers annually in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. For more information, visit www.freshfarmmarket.org or call 202.362.8889.
Photo credit: David Sleightholm
Pamela Lynne Sorensen is the founder of Pamela’s Punch, a leading source of information for the “who, what, when, and where” of Washington, DC’s elite social, professional, and philanthropic scene, which she founded in November of 2006. In 2012 she launched Pacific Punch, based in Los Angeles. Pamela comes from an extensive background in sales and business development from a variety of industries, has been involved with charities and fundraising for a number of years and holds several Board and leadership positions. She currently resides in Arlington, Virginia and when she’s not out on the town, she’s reading or writing while sipping fine wine, or traveling the country and the world ISO adventures, beauty, fun, food, style, libations, music, and the good life. Follow her on Twitter at @pamelaspunch.