Who doesn’t love shopping at a farmer’s market? It’s a great way to get locally-grown fresh produce & other items for you and your family.
As shopping at these markets have grown more popular due to the farm-to-table movement, many people new to the scene have questions regarding the safety of the foods they are purchasing. Here are some basic guidelines to follow to ensure your farm-fresh food is safe!
- Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly with water just before eating, cutting, peeling, or cooking.
- Refrigerate cut or peeled fruits and vegetables within two hours after preparation
- Fun Fact: Organic produce tends to spoil more quickly than the waxed produce you find in many supermarkets. Washing farm-fresh produce too far in advance may cause it to jumpstart the decomposition process—so wait to rinse until you are ready to eat it!
Juices & Cider
- Be sure to ask whether the juice or cider has been treated to kill potentially harmful bacteria. The process is called pasteurization. Pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems should steer clear of unpasteurized beverages.
Milk & Cheese
- Unless you are able to confirm that it has been pasteurized, do not purchase milk at a farmer’s market. Raw milk can contain extremely dangerous microorganisms (Salmonella, E. Coli, Listeria, etc.) that can put the health of you and your family at risk.
- Be sure than any cheeses (particularly soft cheeses) bought at the farmer’s market has been made using pasteurized milk.
- The FDA requires untreated egg shells to be stored and displayed at 45⁰ F. Be sure the vendors are abiding this regulation before purchasing your eggs.
- Open cartons to inspect eggs before purchase; check that eggs are clean and there are no cracked shells
- Meat must be properly chilled and kept in enclosed coolers with plenty of ice to maintain the recommended temperature for storing. Check to see that the vendors are properly displaying these products.
- Bring a separate insulated bag or cooler with you in order to keep the meat cool on your way home. This also keeps the meat separate from other purchases so the juice from the raw meat does not risk contamination of other products.