UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. – The perfect place to find fresh food is at your local farmers market. From farm to table, the produce is one of the healthiest ways to get all your nutrients.
“While canned fruits and vegetables are a great way to bring more colorful foods into the home; summer is the perfect time to incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Taylor Paul, RDN, registered dietitian. “As a bonus, buying them at a farmers market is a fantastic opportunity to support our local farmers.”
Aspirus has launched another year of their Fruit and Vegetable Prescription (FVRx) Program which helps provide patients with access to fresh produce. Patients are identified by the Patient-Centered Medical Home team and Health Resource Team as having a need, whether it be food insecurity, low-income, chronic conditions, or lack of access. Eligible patients are given a “prescription” to use at one of many participating farmers markets in the Aspirus service area.
“A diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables is great for our mind, body and soul, but not everyone has the same access to these items,” said Paul. “This program is designed to get more nutritious foods in the hands of more families in our communities.”
Oftentimes farmers market vendors provide free tastes of things like raspberries, local jellies, and fruit. The aromas of fresh vegetables and fruits are so wonderful that it makes you want to start planting. You are bound to taste or see something that triggers a smile.
Here are some tips for getting the most from your trip to the farmers market:
Go early. You may not need to be among the first arrivals for a weekday market, but weekend markets get busy fast. If you arrive too late, the best pickings may be gone.
Bring cash and reusable bags. Transactions will go easier if you have a pocket of small bills. Plus, you need sturdy bags to carry your items home.
Talk to the vendors. The sellers want to talk about their fruits, veggies, and jams. Ask for buying and storing tips. They can often give you recipe ideas too.
Weekly farmer’s markets throughout the upper peninsula are starting to open. Here are a few of the market’s located throughout the region:
Houghton | Tuesday | 4 pm – 7 pm
Hancock | Thursday | 3 pm – 6 pm
Calumet | Saturday | 10 am – 2 pm
Lake Linden | Friday | 4 pm – 7 pm
Gogebic County | Friday | 4 pm – 6:30 pm
Gogebic County | Tuesday | 4 pm – 6:30 pm
Iron County, Wis. | Wednesday | 3 pm – 6 pm
Iron County, Wis. | Saturday | 10 am – 1 pm
For more information on the FXRx program or to see if you qualify, visit https://www.aspirus.org/fvrx-program.