1 green thing: You might think this is obvious…how to shop at a farmers’ market

By Jan Herbert

Rockford Park District

Whether you were “green” before the color was fashionable or whether you’re just ready to find the “shade” that works best for you, here’s information about doing just “one green thing.”

Some might be new to farmers’ markets…so here are a few easy things to remember:

1) Take your own bag (preferably a cloth one). Most farmers (especially the organic ones) don’t enjoy giving you a plastic bag to take home a vegetable they have grown in a 100-percent natural way (and you don’t want to take any more plastic, either, right?).

2) Think about the true “localness” of the product. If it is June and they are offering apples, it is unlikely they were grown around here. You know the product will taste better if it was grown, picked and brought to you fresh from the field! When in doubt, ask the farmer. You’ll get the straight information, and quickly discover how important bringing you a fresh product is.

3) Bring water (in a reusable cup, please) so you aren’t forced to go looking for a plastic bottle of it when you get thirsty! And, of course, bring cash to make your purchases, small bills when possible.

4) Don’t overbuy so you don’t have to throw it away (or add it to the compost pile). Share with a friend if you can, but try to avoid the waste. (According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, up to one-fifth of America’s food goes to waste each year, with an estimated 130 pounds of food per person ending up in landfills.) Yikes!

5) Rearrange your bag as you go to keep the heavier items on the bottom.

6) Done shopping? Go home and enjoy…not only fresh food, but the fact you have avoided the packaging you would normally get from the grocery store…that makes a farmers’ market a double yummmm.

For more information, e-mail Jan Herbert at JanHerbert@RockfordParkdistrict.org.

from the Aug. 26-Sept. 1, 2009 issue

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