By Kaylie Brand, a student in the dietetics program at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

Even though health cannot be purchased, smart decisions can be made when purchasing foods. With the increasing amount of information on new food trends and food items, trying to choose products when shopping can be overwhelming.

To make matters worse, people now have to worry about buying items in the store at an expensive price with low quality.

Luckily, local farmers markets provide fresh produce that make shopping worthwhile.

So, why trust farmers markets? Well, according to the U. S. Department of Agriculture, shopping at a farmer's market allows for the opportunity of buying fresh local produce while finding a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables. Having the opportunity to attend a local market allows consumers to purchase farm to table produce in addition to many other benefits.

Farmers markets are not only a great way to eat fresh foods, but they also support local businesses and provide a social atmosphere. Thus, allowing consumers to converse with farmers and become educated on where their food is coming from. Additionally, going with friends and family is a great way to spend time with each other and create recipe ideas. Bringing young children is an awesome way to expose them to produce variety and healthy habits.

The farmers market is popular for many due to their low costs. Some items come in large quantities making it a perfect way to feed a large family or share with a friend, splitting the cost. Purchasing these local foods creates nutritious meals to put on the table without breaking the bank.

Lastly, to make sure the farmers market experience is what it should be, it is important to be prepared. Some tips to use are remembering to bring cash for quick purchasing, bringing a bag to carry items, and having questions ready for farmers. So, next time you want to make a healthy choice, you should think about stopping at the local farmers markets.

Recipe to try

A favorite recipe to try is a blackberry chicken salad. Three ingredients from this salad can be purchased from a farmers market. Red onion can be purchased all year round while arugula and blackberries are purchased best in the spring and fall. With these fresh additions, dinner can be made with assurance of a healthy meal.

Blackberry chicken salad

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Servings: 1

  • 1 cup arugula
  • 1.5 oz blackberries
  • Sliced red onion (amount optional)
  • Goat cheese (amount optional)
  • 1 3 oz Grilled chicken breast (optional)
  • 1 tbsp raspberry vinaigrette

Grill chicken and thinly slice.

Rinse arugula and place in serving bowl. Slice onion and rinse berries. Add to large mixing bowl with arugula.

Slice chicken.

Sprinkle goat cheese, dressing, and chicken as desired on top of the salad.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 219 calories; 28 g protein; 8 g fat, 9 g carbohydrates; 3 g fiber; 695 mg sodium.