Eat more fruits and vegetables with the help of your local farmers market

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – For Illinois residents who fall within the one in 10 American adults who don’t eat the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables, farmers markets offer the chance for consumers to up their fruit and vegetable intake while supporting local farmers.

The variety of produce found at farmers market stands can range from family favorite fruits to unfamiliar vegetables, especially when considering what is in season. Yet, despite the health benefits of eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, those unfamiliar foods can get passed over when consumers don’t know how to prepare or cook with them.

“A rutabaga, daikon radish, or delicata squash can be intimidating if you don’t know how to use them," says Jenna Smith, University of Illinois Extension nutrition and wellness educator. "Farmers markets, CSA boxes (community supported agriculture) or farm stands are the perfect places to pick up new produce and experiment with different recipes.”

Knowing what foods are in season can help consumers plan their meals around farmers market shopping while they enjoy the benefits of additional fruits and vegetables in their diets. A series helps consumers understand the option.

At noon May 19, learn what’s in season during the summer. "We’ll explore new or unfamiliar fruits and vegetables that may appear locally, and ideas on ways to prepare and use different produce," says Smith. 

Other events in the series include:

  • What to Expect at Farmers Markets on June 16
  • Preserve Like a Pro on July 21
  • Storing Your Bountiful Harvest on August 18

Register online at If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate, please email Diane Reinhold, Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet your access needs.

SOURCE: Jenna Smith, Nutrition and Wellness Educator, University of Illinois Extension

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