Enjoying local produce

For me, food is an art form, so one of my favourite things to do when I go somewhere is to visit the local Farmers Market

For me, food is an art form, so one of my favourite things to do when I go somewhere is to visit the local Farmers Market.

I still remember the loaf of bread I bought made from wheat the vendors had grown themselves near Smithers.

Or my jar of thimbleberry jam.

And I dream about our own Peach Lady’s Daughter’s tree-ripened peaches.

In the Salmon Arm area, we are lucky to have Farmer’s Markets almost every day of the week, including a new market on Saturday mornings in the old Canadian Tire parking lot.

Buying produce from the local farmer’s markets has many advantages.

First of all, produce harvested at its natural ripening time is at its peak nutrition and flavour.

Secondly, because it is grown locally, it travels less “food miles,” making it better for our environment.

Finally, it supports our local farmers and food economy. Once you have purchased your local produce, it is important to store it properly:

• Some foods are best stored at room temperature- these include onions, melons, potatoes, tomatoes and winter squash. Store in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight.

• Some produce can be ripened on the counter and then stored in the fridge. This includes peaches, nectarines, apricots, pears, and plums.

• Avoid leaving produce in a sealed plastic bag on your countertop. This can lead to mold and decay. Store in perforated plastic bags in your fridge (or make several holes in your plastic bag).

• Store fruits in a separate drawer than vegetables in your fridge. Fruits give off ethylene gas that can shorten the storage life of vegetables. Some vegetables give off odours that can be absorbed by fruit.

• To extend storage life, wash produce before you use it, rather than when you bring it home.

• Rinse fruit and vegetables even if they have a peel (such as melons). Bacteria on the outside can be transferred to the inside when they are cut or peeled.

• Shop early! At farmer’s markets, the most popular items always go first.

-Serena Caner is a registered dietician who works are Shuswap Lake General.

 

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