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TEXARKANA, Ark. –
The summer is when all the fresh produce hits the farmers markets. At the farmer’s
market you may see fresh cut flowers, baked goods, local honey, and locally grown,
farm fresh produce. It is satisfying to drive a few miles to pick up fresh produce
and other products rather than at a supermarket.
Here you will find fruits and vegetables picked at their prime. Fruits and vegetables
you find at the grocery store are often several days old before they even reach the
produce aisle. Before produce hits supermarket shelves, it is shipped in refrigerated
trucks, many times from thousands of miles away.
Farmer’s market produce, on the other hand, is generally picked the day before you
buy it, so you know the food is as fresh as you can get it outside of growing it yourself.
Here you can ask the grower for suggestions on preparing the produce. I recently purchased
Yard-Long Beans from the Gateway Farmers Market. I was not familiar with them so I
asked the grower, Ms. Mae, what they were and how I should prepare them. She told
me that they were used in Asian cooking and grow on climbing vines and the pods can
grow many inches in one day; the average length is anywhere between one and one and
a half feet long. She also told me the best way to prepare them and they are now a
favorite of mine!
For the very best selection, remember to shop early in the day. The best and most
popular items are likely to sell out first. In Texarkana, Jamison’s peaches is one
example. I see disappointed shoppers every time I am there because they show up several
hours after the market is open hoping to get fresh peaches, only to discover they
are sold out.
There is no better way to introduce your children to new foods than to let them pick
them out. Just this week at the market, I saw one child ask for purple hull peas,
another for a cantaloupe and yet another for squash and zucchini. Allow them to pick
out a fruit or vegetable they would like to try. The vendors love to see the kids
at the market, they are their future customers after all.
Asking questions is a great way to learn more about the produce. Farmers and vendors
love to share what they know and how they prepare the produce. Many will have recipes
to share as well.
Many vendors accept WIC and SNAP benefits at the Gateway Farmers Market. Look for
the green signs by the vendors’ booth that show you can use your benefits there.
If you would like to receive a copy of “When It’s in Season,” contact the Miller County
Extension Office, 870-779-3609 or visit us in room 215 at the Miller County Courthouse.
We're online at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS/CarlaDue, on Twitter
@MillerCountyFCS or on the web at uaex.uada.edu/Miller.
This recipe for Italian Zucchini Skillet contains all vegetables you can find at the
Farmers Market. It is very tasty and aromatic while it cooks.
Yields: 4 servings. Per serving: 119 calories, 7 grams protein, 10 carbohydrates,
7 grams fat, 457 mg sodium, 3 grams fiber.
By Carla Due County Extension Agent - FCSThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854 (870) 779-3609 email@example.com