How to get the most benefits from your farmers' market haul

The most benefits from your farmers' market haul

Getty Images Author: Desiree Nielsen, RD


How to get the most benefits from your farmers' market haul

Our handy guide to summer's fresh produce, including how to select it, storage tips and which fruits and veggies can contribute to a healthier gut, have anti-inflammatory effects or boost heart health.

A stroll through a farmers' market is one of the true joys of summer—and a great way to get produce at its peak. It's also an opportunity to mix things up; after all, eating a variety of fruit and vegetables is key to maximizing health benefits. Try to choose something from every colour family, from white to red to blue to green. Each hue boasts its own benefits, such as the skin-saving lycopene in tomatoes and the heart-healthy potassium and fibre in kohlrabi. Armed with this guide, explore your local market this summer and enjoy the most delicious—and nutritious—bounty that the season has to offer.


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Digging deeper
What you should know about the produce you buy.

Just because you're picking up your veggies at a farmers' market doesn't mean what you're getting is straight from a local farm. We spoke with Hannah Wittman, academic director at the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at The University of British Columbia for her insights on fresh produce.

Is the produce from farmers' markets always grown locally? No. Each farmers'-market association creates its own rules for the distance that foods can travel before sale.

What should we ask farmers about how food is grown? Ask whether the food is certified organic, and if animal products are SPCA-certified humane. And don't forget about the type of pesticide and herbicide use for nonorganic crops.

What's the difference between transitional, organic and biodynamic agriculture? Certified-organic status 
is a government-regulated certification given to foods that have been grown using organic practices for at least three years prior to harvest and pass annual inspections. Transitional organic status means that organic practices are being used but the farm is not yet certified. Standards for organic certification detail how livestock should be fed, housed and killed; how crops should be grown, processed and stored; and how pests and diseases should be treated. Biodynamic agriculture follows organic principles and focuses on relationships in nature; it integrates regenerative farming techniques, such as crop rotation, composting and seed saving.


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How to get the most benefits from your farmers' market haul