Hit the Farmer's Market with These Food Safety Tips in Mind

Fruit from a farmer's marketSummer’s here and your local farmer’s market is probably packed already. Now is the time to load up on seasonal fruits and vegetables, like apricots, cherries, nectarines, beets, and radishes. Yum!

Eating seasonal fruits and vegetables is a great way to experiment with new flavors and it’s cost-effective and sustainable! While they’re delicious staples of a healthy diet, raw fruits and vegetables can contain germs and bacteria which is why food safety is key.

If you’re in the mood for fresh watermelon - a true summer classic - or juicy, freshly picked peaches, follow these tips to ensure they don’t put a damper on your plans (or your health):

  • Clean your reusable bags - Many towns have banned plastic grocery bags and reusables are on the rise. Periodically wash your reusable bags with warm water and hang them out to dry. This will keep them fresh and clean - just like your farmer's market produce. 
  • Minimize heat exposure - If you’re shopping for fresh produce, run your other errands first. Buy your groceries last to avoid letting your fruit and vegetables sit in a hot car in the summer heat. You don’t want them to spoil.
  • Wash everything (including your hands) - Before you even touch your fruit or vegetables, thoroughly wash your hands with hot, soapy water. Then wipe down your knives, your cutting board, and your countertop.
  • Rinse your produce - Use cool tap water to rinse off your fruits and veggies. Doing this will get rid of any dirt, residue, or microorganisms that may have been making a home on your produce. Just don’t forget to dry them after!
  • Separate your food - It’s important to keep produce away from raw meat, poultry, and seafood whether in your grocery cart or in your refrigerator. Store those on the bottom shelf and fruit and vegetables on the top.
  • Stay cool (and keep your produce that way too) - If you’ve cut, peeled, or cooked any fresh fruit of veggies, you should refrigerate them within two hours. Store them in a clean container and chill them at 40°F or colder.

Interested in learning more about food safety? Check out the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) food safety page.