Essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber found in fruits and vegetables help protect us from chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, auto immune illnesses and diabetes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Despite the fact that most people "know" they should be eating 5-8 fruits and vegetables a day, the CDC found in 2009 that only 32 percent of adults and 32 percent of adolescents consumed the recommended two or more fruits/day. And only 27 percent of adults and only 13 percent of adolescents consumed the recommended three or more vegetables. A shocking 14 percent of adults and 9.5 percent of adolescents consumed all five or more.
Many of my clients eat a few of the many fruits and vegetables available to us. My goal is to empower them with the recipes, methods (ever try kale, carrot or avocado in a smoothie?) and nutrient knowledge to supercharge their health. By eating a variety of colors and trying to “eat the rainbow” of fruits and vegetables, the body is offered hundreds of minerals and vitamins compared to a few offered by eating the same (supermarket) ones over and over.
What better time to pick up fruits and vegetables your family loves and trial new ones than summer, when there is such an abundance of local farm stands and farmer’s markets. I asked a local farmer about their products and they replied “we want to offer local, fresh and organic foods to the community. Unfortunately the cost of an organic stamp is outrageous for a farmer, so although our products are organic, we can’t 'claim' them as such. We started our plants with seed in April in a greenhouse.”
There are many wonderful benefits of farm stands and farmer’s markets
- Local = fresh and a lot less carbon footprint. Have you ever stopped to think about the fact that getting an apple or zucchini in January may mean the product is weeks old and traveled thousands and thousands of miles?
- It teaches children a lot about local farming, supporting the community and agriculture of gardening.
- They provide a friendly market outlet for small local families or farms who are competing with the convenience of any food found any time of year while interacting with the community.
- Due to the poor financial return on farming; farmer’s markets and farm stands offer a way for the consumer to get fresh and local food while the farmer markets their superior product with little to no packaging, meet their consumers and make a little money to help the many farms that are often on the verge of bankruptcy.
- Many local farms boast the lack of pesticides and the use of organic seed free from Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO).
I know of two wonderful Milford farm stands: One at Ferrucci’s Farm on Howard Street and one at the top of Highland Street where I picked up fresh peaches, tomatoes, peppers and summer squash this week. If any Milford Patch readers know of others — please share in the comments.
Farmer’s Markets are a great way to find fresh, local and often organic food and a super way to support the farmers who grow the nutrient dense foods. We have a small garden, but researched the surrounding towns who have many choices seven days of the week:
- 7 days a week: Mondays - Saturday: 9 am - 6 pm and Sundays 9 am - 6 pm @ Blackstone Valley Farmer’s Market, Mendon, MA
- 7 days a week: 9 am - 7 pm @ MacArthur Farm, Holliston
- Sundays: 11 am - 3 pm @ Daniel’s Farmstead, Blackstone
- Mondays: 3 pm - 6 pm @ Medway Choate Park
- Wednesdays: 2 pm - 5 pm @ Milford Regional Medical Center
- Thursdays 2 pm - 6:30 pm @ Grafton Common
- Fridays noon - 6 pm @ Franklin Town Common
- Fridays 1 pm - 6 pm @ Weston Nurseries, Hopkinton
Make it a point to go to a local farm or market this week. There are many ways you can cook, bake, saute’ and smoothie up your fruits and veggies. I made banana, zucchini, chia seed protein muffins for our family this week. Eighteen of them lasted less than 24 hours.
I would love to hear from readers about their recipes!
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