By Amanda Celine Longoria, RD, LD
Have you explored the local Texas AgriLife Extension farmers’ markets on Saturday mornings? If you’ve never been, this is a gem of a weekend adventure you won’t want to miss! At the farmers’ market, you’ll have the opportunity to purchase fresh organic produce, sample new dishes at the cooking demonstration, converse with a dietitian about nutrition, speak with a horticulturist about plants and gardening, and meet and greet other community members.
The produce at the farmers’ market is at peak freshness and flavor because it’s been harvested the day before the market. Many times people think that they don’t like fruits and vegetables because the produce they eat is harvested while it is still green, before it’s had a chance to develop its rich flavors and nutrient content. Perhaps it’s no surprise that only 14.3% of Texas adults eat the recommended amounts of servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Give farmers’ market fresh produce a try!
The sooner you eat produce after it’s harvested, the better it tastes and the more nutrients your body receives! In contrast, the longer produce sits in trucks to be transported to your grocery store and the longer it sits in your fridge before you eat it, the more nutrients it loses. Growers at the farmers’ market harvest their fruits, vegetables, and herbs the day before so that they are fresher and higher in nutrients than anything you can find at the store. This means more nutritious, fresher, more flavorful organic (grown without chemicals) produce that you and your family will love.
Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to stop by my table at the Edinburg market where I’ll be doing a cooking demo! I prepare quick and delicious dishes packed with all of the nutrients your body needs. You can grab a sample and even take a recipe card with you so you can prepare the dish in your own kitchen. I enjoy talking about nutrition and healthy ways to make-over your favorite dish, so stop by my booth with your questions!
Barbara Storz, Texas AgriLife Extension agent and host of the farmers’ market, is an excellent resource and can share her knowledge with you about growing organic produce in the Valley in your own backyard! Stop by the market and visit with her too.
In addition to being a great place to buy fresh, organic produce and talk with the farmers, horticulturist, and dietitian, the farmers’ market is a social place to be! You can visit with community members, talk with cycling group members that stop by, and even enjoy live music.
The farmers’ market it hosted the first and third Saturdays of the month at North San Juan Park (509 E. Earling Rd., San Juan, TX) and the second and fourth Saturdays of the month in Edinburg in front of Doctors Hospital at Renaissance Wellness Center (just west of McColl and Dove). Hope to see you there!
Amanda Celine Longoria, RD, LD is a registered and licensed dietitian at South Texas Institutes of Health, a nonprofit in McAllen where she provides nutrition counseling for weight loss, diabetes, wellness, high cholesterol, and eating disorders. Call 994-9832 or toll-free 1-888-648-3390 for more information. Follow Amanda on Twitter @RGVDietitian for nutrition tips.