Shop with all your senses this season

Eating a variety of colors will benefit your health and add color to your plate.

Michigan produce is in season, and there is no better time to shop with all of your senses. The smells, colors, textures, sounds and tastes of the markets will a liven and inspire you.

Michigan is second only to California in the variety of fruits and vegetables grown, so each week farmers markets have new items. Eating a variety of colors will benefit your health and add color to your plate. A diet rich in bright colors helps ensure your intake of daily vitamins and minerals.

Red - heart strong        

Found in tomatoes and peppers

Orange - eye health

Found in carrots, peppers, tomatoes and sweet potatoes

Yellow - immune system

Found in squash, beans and tomatoes

Green - strong teeth and bones

Found in kale, spinach, peppers, peas, broccoli, lettuces and green beans

Blue and purple - memory

Found in blueberries, eggplant, beets, carrots (look for the purple variety) and lettuces

All fruits and vegetables are full of the things we need and low in the things we need less of, such as fat, sodium and cholesterol making them helpful in reducing risk for diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

To promote our robust Michigan agriculture, economy and the health of seniors, Michigan has entered a partnership with agencies including local Commission on Aging distribute thousands of dollars in MarketFresh coupons. These dollars are used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables across the state. In three counties of northern Michigan (Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Presque Isle) alone, $24,000 in coupons have been distributed to income eligible seniors.

Check out Michigan Farm Market Association’s website mifma.org for market locations and details.

Double Up Food Bucks program allows recipients Michigan Bridge Card / Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) to swipe their card for tokens that can be redeemed at the market and double the value up to $20. Double Up Food Bucks helps you double the amount of dollars you can spend on Michigan produce.

Ideas to incorporate the recommended 2-3 cups of produce (based on age, gender) include eating some at every meal and snack. Suggestions I’ve heard from seniors across northern Michigan at MarketFresh presentations include:

  • Breakfast - smoothies, omelettes, and cereal/oatmeal topped with fruit
  • Lunch - salads, lettuce/tomatoes on sandwiches, grapes added to chicken salad, and tacos
  • Dinners - steamed vegetables, stir fry with rice, and grilled
  • Snacks - celery and peanut butter, raw cucumber spears, and sliced fruits

Enjoy the bountiful benefits of farm market shopping. Your health and local economy will thank you.

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