Warmer weather means it’s farmers market season. Read up on some of the great benefits of shopping at a farmers market, and don’t miss the recipe at the end!
After an especially long and snowy winter, the opening of farmers markets around the state is certainly a welcome sight. There are many individual, community and environmental benefits associated with shopping at local farmers markets. Markets often offer a wide variety of reasonably priced, high quality fruits and vegetables that are at the peak of their nutritional value. If you receive SNAP benefits, many markets offer a matching incentive program called Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB). For every $10 in SNAP benefits used at the market, you will receive up to $10 in DUFB tokens to spend on fruits and vegetables, making them even more economical.
The produce at farmers markets is often harvested within a couple of days or hours of the market, so the consumer has more time to use it before it spoils. Shopping at farmers markets also helps support farmers in your area, as well as the local economy. On average, food in the United States travels about 1,500 miles to get to your dinner plate, which can have various negative impacts on the environment. Fruits and vegetables sold at farmers markets have generally travelled just a few miles, which means savings in both your wallet and your environment. In addition to these benefits, farmers markets are a fun place to spend a few hours. Many offer free music, games and events for children and tasty food samples. The opening day of farmers markets varies around the state. Check with your local USU Extension office to find the farmers market in your community.
Here’s a great recipe for some of the first items to show up at Utah’s farmers markets. This is a great recipe to add any other fruits or vegetables that look good at the market.
Tossed Salad with Citrus Dressing
Yield: 8 servings.
- 4 c. torn fresh spinach
- 4 c. torn leaf lettuce
- 2-11 oz. cans mandarin oranges
- ¼ small red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 T. thinly sliced radishes
- ½ c. orange juice
- ¼ c. lemon juice
- ¼ c. olive oil
- ½ t. seasoned salt
- ¼ t. paprika (optional)
- pepper, to taste
Toss spinach, lettuce, oranges and radishes in salad bowl. Combine dressing ingredients and whisk together until blended. Serve with salad.
This article was written by Heidi LeBlanc, Food $ense State Director, and Casey Coombs, RD, CD; Policy, Systems, and Environments Coordinator, Utah State University Food $ense