The perfect place to find fresh food is your local farmer’s market. Farm-to-table produce is one of the healthiest ways to get all your nutrients.
“Summer is the perfect time to give canned and frozen goods a break — to give our bodies and minds a healthy boost with fresh fruits and vegetables,” says Diane Hinrichs Kelbel, RD, CD, dietician at Aspirus. “As a bonus, buying them at a farmers market is a fantastic opportunity to support our local farmers.”
Aspirus has launched another year of its fruit and vegetable prescription program (FVRx) which helps provide patients with access to fresh produce. Patients are identified by the patient-centered medical home team and the health resources team as having a need, whether it is food insecurity, low income, chronic illness or lack of access. Eligible patients receive a “prescription” to use at one of the many participating farmers’ markets in the Aspirus service area.
“We know that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is healthy for us, but not everyone has the same access to these foods,” adds Hinrichs Kelbel. “This program is designed to put more nutritious food in the hands of more families in our communities.”
Often, Farmer’s Market vendors offer free tastes of things like raspberries, local jellies, and fruit. The aromas of fresh vegetables and fruits are so wonderful that they make you want to start planting. You are bound to taste or see something that triggers a smile.
Here are some tips for making the most of your trip to the Farmer’s Market:
- Go early. You may not need to be among the first to arrive for a weekday market, but weekend markets get busy quickly. If you arrive too late, the best pickings may disappear.
- Bring cash and reusable bags. Transactions will be easier if you have a pocket of small denominations. Also, you need strong bags to carry your items home.
- Talk to vendors. Vendors want to talk about their fruits, vegetables and jams. Ask for buying and storage advice. They can also often give you recipe ideas.
The Aspirus Farmers Market will return to the Aspirus Wausau Hospital every Thursday from June 16 to September 29. Stop by June 16 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to see Chef Travis from Northcentral Technical College as he shares some tips and tricks and whips up a fresh snack to share. using produce from the farmer’s market.
For more information on the FXRx program or to see if you are eligible, visit https://www.aspirus.org/fvrx-program.