Building a healthy feast from local eats: The value of a farmer’s market

Children’s Hospital Farmer’s Market

Fresh produce for sale at the Children’s Hospital Farmer’s Market

In Wisconsin, we are fortunate a great variety of fruits and vegetables are locally grown. From cheese and dairy products to vegetables and fruits, Wisconsinites easily can create a healthy feast from local eats.

Even right in our front yard at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Simon’s Gardens brings delicious, seasonal treats grown on a farm 30 miles away. Every Tuesday, the Simon family sells a variety of fruits and vegetables at the Children’s Hospital Farmer’s Market. Their knowledge of locally grown foods is helpful when, for example, trying to figure out how to tell if a melon is ripe.

And farmer’s markets are popping up everywhere with seasonal fruits and vegetables that are as fresh as they can get — some picked the same day. If that is not reason enough to shop at farmer’s markets, there are many more.

Fruits and veggies grown locally travel shorter distances, arrive faster and fresher and are bound to taste better. They are healthy, full of vitamins and minerals and picked at the peak of ripeness. Purchasing directly from a farmer helps our local economy. Buying direct often means you’ll get a better price. And certainly, you may find seasonally grown items you have never seen before. What a great way to learn about locally grown foods and try something new.

As the season progresses, arugula is replaced by rhubarb and rhubarb is replaced by cucumbers. The cycle goes on. Availability always is changing as do the offerings at every market. You’ll never get tired of the healthy, tasty treats.

To find a list of farmer’s markets in your area, check out the Farm Fresh Atlas. You can also download this PDF to better understand the seasonal availability of Wisconsin produce.

As always, Simon’s Gardens will continue its market Tuesday’s noon-5 pm in front of the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Clinics Building.

Do you enjoy fresh produce? Post a comment and share your favorite item to pick up at a farmer’s market. I look forward to hearing from you!

~ Kyndal Hettich, RD, clinical dietician, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
Kyndal Hettich, RD

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