Fill your plate with locally grown fruits and vegetables this summer

Visit local farm markets or pick your own delicious, locally grown produce.

With school out, it’s time to think about the fun you and your family can have this summer! We are blessed in Michigan with the beautiful beaches, running rivers and expanding farm markets. One tradition my family enjoys is to visit farm markets and u-pick farms. Not only is this a great way to support our local agriculture but also a fun way to consume healthy, quality food.

From May to late fall, there is an abundance of fruits and vegetables you can purchase from your local farm market or possibly pick yourself. Michigan State University Extension recommends the Michigan Availability Guide as a resource for knowing when your favorite produce is ready for picking, as well as when it is likely available at your local market.

With consumers increased demand in knowing where their food grows, farm markets are expanding and growing across the state. Finding one may be as easy as heading to your city center. The Michigan Farm Market Association is a great website to search to find a local farm markets close to you. You could also use the site to visit a farm market while you are travelling so you can taste locally grown treats from across the entire state.

After you pick your bounty, what do you do with it? MSU Extension has produced wonderful resources to know how to select, properly store and preserve a myriad of fruits and vegetables. Michigan Fresh has resources from apples to winter squash and also has crowd favorites like strawberries, tomatoes and peaches. The bulletins include step-by-step instructions on how to can or freeze the produce.

Not only is picking fruits and veggies fun – but they are also good for you! Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in calories, high in fiber and packed with healthy nutrients like vitamin C, folic acid and potassium. My Plate recommends making half your plate fruits and vegetables, so fill it up!

Increasing your fruit and vegetable consumption is good for you, but also good for the Michigan agriculture community and your local farmers. Take advantage of the Michigan bounty all summer by picking and purchasing locally grown produce.