Summertime is upon us, and here in South Carolina, that means garden-fresh tomatoes, sweet corn, and watermelon until our bellies ache. However, if we haven’t planned a vegetable garden like THIS, where can we find all of this delicious produce? During the summer season, farmers markets can be found sprouting up throughout the state, where shoppers can buy in-season, nutritious produce while supporting local farmers. To help make the most out of your next farmers market trip, explore the following tips:
Plan a Family Field Trip
Load up the kiddos and head to the farmers market for a summer field trip to learn about agriculture, nutrition, and economy all in one! Encourage each child to choose one fruit or vegetable and find out how it is grown and harvested. Have them take pictures of a variety of produce to research the vitamins and minerals they contain once back at home. For a fun game, give the kids each a budget to spend on a certain fruit or vegetable and see who comes closest (without going over!) to that amount when their produce is weighed at check out.
Farmers markets are a great place for finding and trying new things! Each vendor you pass by has something different to offer. In a 2019 study, only 10.2% of South Carolinians reported meeting their recommended daily vegetable intake, which is generally 2 to 4 cups of vegetables per day. Be adventurous by taking a step out of your comfort zone to buy a small amount of that one vegetable you’re not so sure about (maybe…Brussels sprouts?) and give it a try! You may find yourself returning just in search of that one item.
Save, Support, Score
Take advantage of reduced-price produce by giving those ready-to-eat peaches, plums, or peppers new life! In addition to saving money, you’ll be supporting the environment by preventing food waste. In the National Farmers Market Manager Survey from 2019, it is reported that 39.6% of vendors at farmers markets had the opportunity to sell imperfect and undesirable produce, which in turn helped prevent food waste. Now, the only question left is…what recipe are you making with all the produce you scored?
For more farmers market tips, follow along on Facebook @ClemsonHealthExtension for our ‘Farmers Market Friday’ series, where we’ll feature a new tip each Friday.
- Lee, S. H., Moore, L. V., Park, S., Harris, D. M., & Blanck. H. M. (2022). Adults meeting fruit and vegetable intake recommendations – United States, 2019. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 71(1), 1-9. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/71/wr/pdfs/mm7101a1-H.pdf
- U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2020). Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 (9th ed.). https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2021-03/Dietary_Guidelines_for_Americans-2020-2025.pdf
- U.S. Department of Agriculture. (n.d.). [Infographic representing Vendor Benefits found in the 2019 National Farmers Market Managers Survey]. Retrieved May 25, 2022, from https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/NationalFamersMarketManagersSurveyVendorBenefits.png