It’s summer – make half your plate Michigan grown fruits and vegetables!

Fresh fruits and vegetables offer many health benefits. Summer is a great time to take advantage of all the wonderful varieties of the fresh produce grown in Michigan.

Summer officially started on June 21 – what a great time to take advantage of the many fruits and vegetables that are grown in Michigan! Fresh fruits and vegetables have many health benefits including reducing the risk of heart disease, developing kidney stones, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and may decrease bone loss. Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in calories, sodium, fat and cholesterol and high in vitamins, minerals and fiber. The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Choose MyPlate recommends filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables. If you are interested in serving recommendations, based on your gender, age and activity level, visit the More Matters website.

Depending on the growing season, Michigan offers a wonderful choice of fresh produce. Michigan State University Extension’s Michigan Availability Guide provides a chart that gives consumers an idea when fruits and vegetables are in season and ready to be harvested. The guide provides a wide range of availability because the growing season can vary from year-to-year.

If you don’t have access to a garden or orchard, Michigan Farmer’s Markets are a great commodity and offer locally grown produce that is available for purchase. You can find a Michigan Farmer’s Market online.

To make sure that your farm fresh food is safe to eat, MSU Extension recommends that you always wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after preparing fresh produce. Fruits and vegetables should also be washed thoroughly with running water before eating, cutting, peeling or cooking. Soap, detergent or commercial produce wash is not recommended. It is also important to make sure cut or peeled fruits and vegetables are refrigerated within two hours of preparation.