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Eating healthily and saving money by purchasing produce from local farms. These farms tend to be small, employing regenerative farming practices such as rotational planting and composting.

For the freshest produce, opt for a CSA program and receive your weekly share of vegetables straight from the farm. It can be convenient to visit a farm stand or wait in line at a market, while still enjoying all of nature’s bounty.

Freshness

When purchasing produce at a farmer’s market or roadside farm stand, the freshest is when it is first picked. That is because fruits and vegetables are picked at their ripest state, when they contain the most vitamins and nutrients – and when flavor is at its strongest.

Shipping produce to retailers and restaurants can cause it to lose its freshness. To prevent this, coolers that are just above freezing are used; this means they take in oxygen while giving off heat, so the rate of respiration needs to be slowed down in order to preserve produce from decay.

Produce can spoil in several ways, but not the only one. How it’s stored at a grocery store can also have an adverse effect on its quality. Many fruits and vegetables require refrigeration to stay fresh; without this protection, they won’t be able to withstand knocks and drops during transport.

That is why it’s best to purchase produce as close to the farm where it was grown as possible. Look for firm produce without soft spots and make sure it has vibrant color.

Consumer Reports has identified freshness as one of the top criteria when shopping for food. Nearly half of those surveyed said they prioritize freshness over other factors when purchasing produce.

Local farms tend to use fewer pesticides than their conventionally grown counterparts, since they prioritize protecting their crops from external elements and ensuring their harvests are healthy for employees and customers. It’s wise to purchase produce from these local farms instead of conventionally grown products.

Another advantage to purchasing locally produced foods is their usually lower sodium content than other products on the market, which may be an important consideration for those on a restricted diet. This holds especially true for those on such regimens.

No matter if you’re vegetarian or not, it’s never too late to incorporate more fresh vegetables into your meals. Not only are they good for your body, but they add an eye-catching splash of color and flavor as well. So grab that reusable bag and head down to your local farmers market or roadside farm stand today!

Phytochemicals

Fresh produce contains phytochemicals, which are health-promoting compounds that provide essential nutrients and antioxidants. Eating this produce can promote a nutritious diet as well as help protect against diseases like cancer. Furthermore, phytochemicals may reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes among other chronic illnesses.

Phytochemicals are naturally occurring compounds found in plants that give fruits and vegetables their vibrant colors, flavors, and smell. Recent research has demonstrated that these substances possess powerful antioxidants, detoxifiers, and immune boosters. They can stimulate hormone production and enzyme production as well as shield cells from free radical damage.

These phytochemicals can slow the growth rate of cancer cells and protect DNA damage that could lead to disease. They’re commonly found in many fruits and vegetables like red berries, oranges, carrots, green leafy veggies, purple and blackberries.

These phytochemicals act as antibacterial and antiviral agents, helping to inhibit the growth of bacteria and viruses that cause foodborne illnesses. Furthermore, they have the capacity to regulate fat absorption and enhance insulin sensitivity.

There are numerous ways to increase your intake of beneficial compounds. One way is incorporating more fruits and vegetables in their whole form–including seeds, nuts, and beans–into meals or salads.

Another way to maximize your intake of these beneficial phytochemicals is by purchasing and eating organic or sustainably raised produce. Today, approximately 52% of consumers opt for organic vegetables and fruit in their shopping basket.

Eating fruits and vegetables daily is essential for human health, with studies linking inadequate intake to obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. This is because these foods are packed with vital vitamins, minerals, and fibers that support a healthy body.

Despite these benefits, many people do not consume enough fruits and vegetables daily. This is likely due to lack of knowledge on proper care for fresh produce as well as loss of phytochemicals during storage and transport.

Physical treatments like hot-water treatment and cold water treatment have been used to improve and preserve fresh fruit and vegetable quality while in storage. These procedures are safe, leave no chemical residues behind, and are generally successful at managing postharvest diseases and physiological disorders; however, their impact on phytochemicals has yet to be fully explored.

Crunch

Crunchy, fresh vegetables are an easy and delicious way to add a layer of texture to your snack. Try adding grain such as pretzels or pita chips for extra crunchiness, or incorporate dips like salsa or hummus for additional flavor.

Farmers Market Vendors rely on their farm fresh produce to provide nutritious meals to communities throughout the region. In Central Pennsylvania, for instance, vegetables from local farms are delivered to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank’s centralized Healthy Food Hubs and distributed to over 1300 program partner agencies.

Schools across America have implemented Farm to School programs, bringing farm fresh veggies to lunchrooms year-round. Lone Peak High School (Big Sky, Mont.) recently introduced students to new tastes with its “Harvest of the Month” program featuring locally grown veggies.

This summer, Roseville Area Schools district in Minnesota took advantage of their local Farm to School programs for a Farm to Summer event. Cucumbers were among the seasonal foods they offered as part of this in-season offering.

As summer nears, California Giant Berry Farms, Crunch Pak, Duda Farm Fresh Foods, Natural Delights Medjool Dates and SUNSET(r) have joined forces to promote their products with a Summer Snacking Sweepstakes. Customers can download an e-book with free recipes and enter for a chance to win $5,000 in vacation on each brand partner’s websites.

Flavor

Farm fresh veggies, whether raw, braised, steamed or sauteed are a delight for the palate. This is partly due to their distinct flavor profile which sets them apart from other veggies.

Kale has a sweet, cabbage-y taste that many find nutty. Plus, studies have demonstrated that this superfood may contain powerful antioxidants.

The best part of all is that fresh produce can be found year round at your local farm or farmers market.

One of the benefits of buying farm fresh is that it’s often picked the day before or even the same day you buy it, meaning you get only the freshest produce available! Farm fresh farms also typically have a lower carbon footprint and don’t use chemical fertilizers like supermarkets do, plus most vegetables are grown using regenerative methods – better for both the planet and your body! It’s no surprise why this trend is growing so popular, as keeping up with health should always remain at the top of your priority list.

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