Shop Smart at Farmers' Markets
Who can resist the allure of a good local Farmers' Market. It is very hard to not buy too much since it all looks so wonderful. Here are a few tips for safe use of all that great produce.
l Buy only the amount you can use in a short period of time.
l Look for produce that’s free from unusual odors or colors and signs of spoilage.
l Handle produce gently to reduce bruising. Bacteria can thrive in the bruised areas.
l When buying cut produce, keep it cold during transport.
l Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water before handling produce.
l Wash all fruits and vegetables with cool running tap water right before eating. Don't use dish soap or detergent because the FDA hasn’t approved or labeled these products for use on foods.
l Scrub melons with a brush and running water, because bacteria can be transferred from the outside of the melon to the inside by a knife.
l Cut away bruised parts before eating. Remove the outer leaves from lettuce and cabbage.
l Keep fresh cut produce cold by placing serving containers on ice. Perishable food should spend no more than two hours in the "danger zone" (40 to 140oF).
l Store produce in containers that are free from excess liquid.
l Refrigerate cut produce and use within a few days.
There are several great Farmers' Markets in the Punta Gorda, Florida area you can try:
Every Saturday: Punta Gorda Farmers' Market, downtown Punta Gorda from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Every Sunday: Punta Gorda Historical Society's Farmers' Market, 501 Shreve St. from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Not only will you find great produce but you can hear live music and take a tour of the grounds with a native gardener.