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It’s National Farmers Market Week!

Throughout America’s history, the true spirit of American patriotism can be seen in the independent and enterprising spirits of farmers across the nation. Utilizing hard work, determination, strength, and ingenuity, farmers throughout the years have striven to provide the best produce and food sources to families from sea to shining sea.

The importance of farmers and their ability to bring their goods to market is recognized during National Farmers Market Week. Designated by the United States Department of Agriculture, this week (August 7-13, 2011) is National Farmers Market Week, a time dedicated to the celebration of the abundance of fresh, bountiful produce. Farmers markets provide the opportunity for families to enjoy fresh, affordable produce for healthy living, and this week is the time to celebrate the blessings of fresh food.

There are several ways to celebrate National Farmers Market Week, but the best way to celebrate is to go to a local farmers market and explore the bountiful supply of fresh produce. Farmers markets provide fresh produce that is not only healthier and better quality than most grocery stores, but many times the prices are cheaper, also. So when you go this week to show your farm spirit, check out these fruits and veggies:

Peaches

Peach cobbler, homemade peach ice cream, peach preserves, peach pie…all the reasons, and many more, why you should grab a bag of freshly picked peaches! Biting into a plump juicy peach, feeling the sticky juice run down your chin, and tasting the combined flavor and sweetness are reasons enough to select homegrown peaches. Rich in minerals and vitamins, peaches contain few calories and are very healthy for you.

Broccoli and Cauliflower

If you’re looking for a tasty, healthy afternoon snack or a colorful addition to party food, broccoli and cauliflower are the perfect veggies. Add a little ranch dressing, and these two vegetables taste superb! Not only are they tasty and attractive, but they are healthy, containing minerals, vitamins, and dietary fiber, and they are both low in calories, also.

Tomatoes

Nothing tastes better than biting into a juicy plump tomato and tasting the sharp, distinct flavor of a summertime tomato. Not only do tomatoes contain minerals, vitamins, and dietary fiber, but they also contain antioxidants that protect against cancers like breast, colon, prostate, lung, and pancreatic cancers. To top it off, they are delicious! Tomatoes can be eaten raw or cooked, and they are great for soups, salads, and sandwiches.

Blueberries

Sweet, juicy, and perfect for the best pies, blueberries are a must-have farmers market buy. Blueberries provide vitamins, dietary fiber, and minerals, and they also contain chlorogenic acid, which helps lower blood sugar and to control blood sugar levels. Those with diabetes or other health problems should try these fresh berries for a sweet treat.

Okra

Trying to lose weight? Then pick up a mess of okra while you’re celebrating Farmers Market Week. Okra contains no saturated fats or cholesterol and is recommended for weight loss and cholesterol control programs. These veggies can be used in many different tasty recipes, and they also contain vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber for other health benefits.

Green Beans

A very rich source of dietary fiber, green beans work as a bulk laxative, which aids in colon health. They are also an excellent source of minerals and vitamins, and green beans also contain zea-xanthin, which protects the eyes against UV light. These are also a great vegetable for women who are pregnant; snap beans contain folates, which help prevent defects in offspring.

Watermelon

Just the name inspires refreshing, thirst-quenching thoughts. Watermelon, which is high in electrolytes and water content, is great for these dog days when hydration is a constant concern. Not only sweet, juicy, and delightful for the taste buds, but watermelon is also rich in nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants.

Apples

An apple a day does indeed keep the doctor away! The old saying is true, for apples contain a long list of nutrients necessary for proper growth and overall well-being. They also contain vitamins and antioxidants that protect the body against infections and free radicals. Apples can be used in hundreds of recipes, and they are delicious and crisp as a light, healthy snack.

Farmers markets contain all these and much, much more, and fresh vegetables and fruits are always dependable for containing plentiful healthy sources. Celebrate the National Farmers Market Week this week and stock up on good produce and good health benefits!



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