Tag Archives: farmers market

5 Deliciously Healthy Summer Party Themes


Lisa Johnson blogs at TrueFoodMovement.com, where you can find healthy recipes and fun ideas about food. 

Hot dogs, burgers, ice cream…summer parties can wreak havoc with your waistline. We’ve got five summer party themes that let you kick back and enjoy yourself instead of counting calories.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa


Think more salsa, less queso. Mexican food comes from fresh ingredients and simple preparations. There are a lot of healthy Mexican dishes such as ceviche, a taco salad, and fajitas with whole wheat wraps. There are only 146 calories in a Corona, so you can even enjoy a little beer.

Try this: Roasted Tomatillo and Pineapple Salsa (more…)

5 Questions to Ask at Your Farmers Market

farmers market carrots

I love starting my weekend with a trip to the farmers market. I may start the day overwhelmed by my to-do list, but everything slows down as I start to walk past the tables of vibrant produce, local honey, and artisanal breads and cheeses. Connecting with your food and those who produce it makes you pause, breathe, and appreciate the great gift of real food. You know you’re doing something better for your body and planet by going fresh and local.

However, you can’t take for granted that everything at your local farmers market is good for you and the planet. Supporting your local farmers market can provide  better quality produce and be beneficial to the environment and local economy. However, it is not a guaranty that the produce is free of pesticides, meets safety standards, or that the product is actually from a local source. If you’re not taking the opportunity to get to know your farmer you may not be getting what you bargained for. Here are some questions to ask at your next (or first) farmers market visit.

Farmers Markets in all 50 States Accept Food Stamps and EBT


Not every local farmer grows organically. Those who do so often proudly display their USDA organic label. If you don’t see the organic label, you need to ask how they spray and fertilize their crops. Some farmers use all organic methods but simply do not have the resources to obtain the organic certification. Others may use conventional methods of pest control and fertilization. If it is a fruit or vegetable on the Dirty Dozen list, make sure to choose organically grown produce.


Local and grass fed seem to go hand-in-hand but you can’t assume that is the case. Cows and chickens may still be eating grain due to cost and land availability (or even junk food!). They may also still be getting things you don’t want in your food, like antibiotics. Organic eggs may be the best protein choice at the farmers market. They can be used in a variety of ways and can be less expensive per serving than organic beef. (more…)

Pick a Pocket Full of Pawpaws: Sure to be the Hottest New “it” Fruit


Now is the time for “pickin’ up pawpaws and puttin’ ’em in your pockets” as the children’s chant goes. The best pawpaws are the fully ripe fruits that have fallen to the ground between mid-August and mid-October, perfect for stuffing your pockets or your face!

Pawpaws are the largest edible fruit native to the U.S. and are an indigenous plant to 26 states east of Nebraska, reaching from Florida to New York. The fruit was an important food for Native Americans and early settlers. Pawpaws graced George Washington’s table in colonial days. And even animals aren’t missing out on this delicious treat — squirrels, raccoons, possums, and bears happily feast on aromatic pawpaw flesh.

Pawpaws are large fruits, similar to mangoes or papayas, ranging in color from yellow to green with skin often flecked. When over-ripe, the skin will turn brown like a banana. They have big black seeds that are easy-to-remove, a custard-like texture, and a flavor that is related to bananas, mangoes and melons. They are known commonly as a poor man’s banana.

“It has a sweet, yet rather cloying taste….a wee bit puckery” is the way their taste was described by a botanist of yore.    (more…)

Farmers Markets in All 50 States Accept Your EBT SNAP Cards, Some Double Your Money!

snap at farmers market

It’s no secret: it can often take a lot of money to eat healthy. Anyone who has tried to shop at premium grocers or attempted to buy mostly organic produce can understand this. It can leave you questioning how low-income families can do it! You may not believe it, but the best place to go just may be your local farmers market.

Recently, Dr. Richard Besser hosted a conversation on G+ as a part of the TED-MED series on childhood obesity. Featured in this panel was Don Schwarz, Health Commissioner and Deputy Mayor for Health and Opportunity in the City of Philadelphia. When asked how to combat the issue of African American and Latino children being exposed to the highest level of unhealthy foods and beverages, he suggested policy change to allow public benefits (like food stamps) to be accepted at farmers markets.

Well, Mr. Health Commissioner, have we got good news for you: They already do!

We have noticed a growing trend in our local farmers markets throughout the country accepting SNAP (or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as Food Stamps) just like regular cash. Gone are the days where affordability and accessibility of fresh produce isn’t possible on food stamps. Shopping at your local farmers market is not only better for the environment, but the nutritional quality is higher, and your money can literally go further.

okra forsythe market koskie

Wholesome Wave Georgia features more than 20 farmers markets that accept SNAP throughout the state, but Forsyth Farmers Market in Savannah, has taken it to another level. They literally give you twice the bang for your buck. This market will match your SNAP dollars thanks to a grant from Wholesome Wave Georgia. Accepting SNAP since 2009, they developed this partnership to ensure that the highest quality produce was perfectly attainable no matter your resources. And is it working?

“Last year, we had the top redemption rates for a single market in the state of Georgia,” says Forsyth Farmers Market co-founder and coordinator Teri Schell.

But if you’re not in the Savannah area, fear not. There are farmers markets that accept SNAP in all 50 States. We found 50 with the best deals!

Alabama: On Double Days, Homegrown Alabama will match dollar-for-dollar up to $25.

Alaska: Alaska Farmers Market Association says to check that the booth you shop at accepts them, too!

Arizona: Hosts a whole list of SNAP-specific gardens.

Arkansas: Featured this week in the Top 10 Fastest Growing Farmers Market states. (more…)

Little Blue Dynamos: My Love Affair with Blueberries Made a Blueberry Cucumber Salad


It’s my favorite time of year: peak blueberry season! If you’re anything like me, you can’t get enough of these little balls of deliciousness. Farmers markets, U-Pick berry fields, or from the local produce store, I can’t gobble them up fast enough.

Peak season is anytime from late June through early September, so I’m even known to buy extra large amounts in bulk and freeze* for the rest of the year. Then I add them to smoothies, pancakes (my favorite recipe is this one), oatmeal, you name it! I even found a way to add these little guys to a savory salad. Don’t believe me? We’ll let you try the recipe for yourself!

blueberry cucumber salad

Why the love affair with blueberries? These little blue dynamos… (more…)

7 Awesome Reasons Denver Residents Look and Feel So Good

I’ve lived in Denver for one month now, and by the end of the first week it was clear to me why Colorado as a state and Denver as a city own the top of the healthiest lists. From activity to fresh air and an attitude that supports wellness, how could anyone not feel their best here?

Year after year, Colorado remains at the top of the list for healthiest states. The CDC’s map of obesity trends starts in 1985, and it wasn’t until 1990 that Colorado even showed up for having less than 10 percent of its population qualify as obese. The most current map is from 2012 and puts Colorado as one of only nine states with an obesity population under 25 percent. Fitness and hiking clothes seem to be The Official Denver Outfit, as everyone at brunch, the park, the grocery store, and the office seem to be dressed down and ready to move!

While there are no doubt more, these are seven killer reasons that Denver residents look and feel so darn good!

denver bikes
Very Bicycle Friendly. I’m confident I’ve seen more bicycles in the last four weeks than I’ve seen in the last four years. Whether for commutes, fun, or exercise, bicycles own the roads in Denver. As recent as 2011, bicycle commuters were 2.4 percent of Denver’s population, a number up 183% since 1990. Bike racks and lanes exist everywhere, making it a no-brainer for cyclists to get out and ride to work, to the grocery store, or just out for fun. B-Cycle has 83 rental stations and 700 bikes throughout the city, making it pretty impossible not to bike.

chipotle sofritas
Vegetarian Food Abounds. You can throw a stone and find vegetarian and even vegan dining options. Bonnie Brae makes a titillating homemade vegan ice cream, Native Foods has a mock fast food menu that will knock your socks off, and the locally-based Chipotle even puts sofritas (organic tofu braised with chilis and spices) on the menu. Every restaurant we’ve visited (and there have been a lot!) has hearty vegetarian options that even the most carnivorous will consider noshing on. The Goodness Truck roams around near Ft. Collins serving their grilled brie sandwich — to die! And all around the area you can dine at farm to table events. (more…)

Dodge’s Farmer Super Bowl Ad Prioritizes Health and Family

  • In a two-minute spot that aired during Super Bowl XLVII, Dodge Ram highlighted the farmers who are the life blood of our nation.
  • The spot featured the real men, women, and even youth who “put in 40 hours by noon on Tuesday,” but also sow and harvest the food that we all consume every day.
  • Paul Harvey narrated the commercial, based on audio of a speech he gave to the Future Farmers of America in 1978.
  • Farmers markets are an affordable and accessible way to not only provide wholesome fresh foods for your family, but also support local farmers and therefore your local economy.
  • The spot shared the beautiful scene of a family gathered around the table for dinner, something that can improve a child’s performance at school and give them greater self esteem. A family dinner can reduce in the incidence of obesity, eating disorders, depression, and substance abuse. (more…)

Raw Sunflower Butter Cookies Make a Healthy Take Along Snack

The first time I tried sunflower seed butter was at a farmers market in Portland, Oregon several years back. I had just passed by the third strawberry stand lining the market’s north side when I stumbled upon a tent with a middle-aged gentleman pedaling exotic-looking nut and seed butters. One of the butters was made of sunflower seeds. Despite my initial reservations I dipped my toothpick in, gave it a lick and walked away with a half pint.

That’s the kind of thing that happens when you visit a bustling farmers market. You try new exotic flavors and discover little gems of health like sunflower seed butter. Thanks Portland. I owe you my love of yet another nut butter for that one.

Since trying sunflower butter that first time I’ve experimented with making my own nut and seed butters at home in order to venture outside the peanut butter realm. Almond, cashew and chia seed nut butters are all delicious but I’d yet to try my hand at sunflower seeds. That is, until now. (more…)

How To Get Over Your Farmers Market Phobia

Are you like me? Do you see all of the farmers markets during the summer and just stare in wonder? I drive by, crane my neck, but continue on. I’ve even said I want to go to one, but I never do. Or if I happen upon one, I tend to feel lost as to what to buy or how much or whose product is better.

Yes, I’m farmers market phobic. I want to use them, I believe local is the best way to shop, but I’ve always been full of excuses not to. Well, this summer I decided ‘no more.’ I was ready to get past my reservations and earn my farmers market newbie badge. And I decided I was going to go to a market blind and manage to find all of the ingredients for that night’s dinner, even if I had to ask questions.

So I rolled into the nearest market to my house on a recent weekday morning. There were plenty of tents to choose from so I started at one end and got quite an education as I weaved my way through the various stands. (more…)

5 Healthy Habits for Hot Summer Days

By Rachel Berman, RD, Csr, Cdn for Calorie Count

As summer rolls in everyone wants to take full advantage of the longer days and warmer weather. This year, make the most of your summer by focusing on simple, healthy activities that you can do every day of the week!

Get moving together with your friends or family every evening for a walk, jog, or bike ride. This is a great way to enjoy the weather, have some bonding time with your loved ones, and get your exercise in. Working out with others will motivate you and keep you accountable, too. On the weekends, head to the local pool for a great full body workout.

Take a trip to the farmers market and check out what’s in season. You’ll be surprised at the vast variety of fruits and vegetables available, and each week you’ll find something new. Because this produce is recently harvested it will be more fresh and nutritious than produce from the supermarket. Buying from the farmers market also supports the community and local farmers! (more…)