Food Safety at the Farmer’s Market

farmer market art

Farmer’s markets offer a variety of fresh, locally-grown fruits, vegetables, bakery, and meat products in a festive atmosphere.

When shopping at a farmer’s market, it is important to keep food safety in mind.  Below are food safety tips to help you become a savvy shopper at your local farmer’s market.

PRODUCE:

  • Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water just before eating, cutting or cooking.
  • Even if you plan to peel the produce before eating, it is still important to wash it first. Any bacteria present on the outside can be transferred to the inside when you cut or peel it.
  • Don’t wash produce until just before you use it. Fresh produce has a natural protective coating that helps keep in moisture and freshness. Washing produce before storage can cause it to spoil faster.
  • Be sure to refrigerate cut or peeled fruits and vegetables within 2 hours after preparation.

PROPER STORAGE:

  • Store bananas, melons, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and winter squashes at room temperature. Items stored at room temperature should be kept in a clean, dry, well-ventilated place, away from direct sunlight and away from meat prep areas.
  • Avocados, kiwifruit, nectarines, peaches, pears and plums can be ripened on the counter and then stored in the refrigerator. Avoid placing produce in a sealed plastic bag on your countertop. This may increase off-odors and decay from the accumulation of carbon dioxide and depletion of oxygen inside the bag.
  • Most other fresh fruits and vegetables keep best when stored in a clean refrigerator at a temperature of 40 degrees F or below. Store fruits in a separate refrigerator crisper drawer from vegetables. Fruits give off ethylene gas, which can shorten the storage life of vegetables, and some vegetables give off odors that when absorbed by fruits affect their quality.

OTHER TIPS:

  • Make sure that eggs and meats are properly chilled at the market.
  • If buying juice or cider, check to see whether it has been treated (pasteurized) to kill harmful bacteria.

I hope these tips help you to be a savvy shopper at your local farmer’s market.  Enjoy!

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5 Comments

  1. F.W. Chapman SolutionsMay 13, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Great article, Gina! I like how you explain the reasons behind the tips. Your advice makes a lot of sense.

    When washing produce, is running water enough or do you need to use some kind of special produce cleaner?

    Fred Chapman

  2. Barbara SmithMay 13, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    What about the chemicals in the tap water?? Do you recommend using “filtered” water? Regular water has many things in it that actually does contribute to cellular aging due to free radical damage.

  3. The best ways to wash produce | Eat Well with GinaMay 13, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    […] last post about food safety at the farmer’s market raised the very good question of how to safely wash produce.  I will now answer the following […]

  4. Gina ConsalvoMay 13, 2013 at 10:32 pmAuthor

    Great question! I decided to expand on this topic here: http://www.eatwellwithgina.com/2013/05/the-best-ways-to-wash-produce/

    I would recommend soaking fruits and vegetables in distilled (filtered) water for 1 to 2 minutes or using a dilute vinegar rinse (3 parts water, 1 part vinegar). This rinse can be mixed in a spray bottle and used.

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About Gina
Gina Consalvo-Hassick, MA, RD, LDN, CDE, NCC is a registered dietitian and is actively involved in various food and nutrition communities. She has counseled and assessed a wide range of patients and has experience in outpatient, inpatient, and consulting. Areas of specialization include weight management, eating disorders, and wellness nutrition.
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Gina Hassick,
MA, RD, LDN, CDE, NCC

(908) 827-1482
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