Summertime is fresh fruit and vegetable time

The months of July and August are a great time to take advantage of fruits and vegetables that are locally grown in Michigan.

Summer is a great time to take advantage of the many fruits and vegetables that are grown in Michigan. Depending on the growing season, the months of July and August offer a wonderful choice of fresh produce. Vegetables like green beans, radishes and corn, as well as fruit, including apricots, blueberries and peaches are often in season and ready to be harvested.

If you don’t have access to a garden or orchard, Michigan Farmer’s Markets offer locally-grown produce that is available for purchase. To find a Michigan Farmer’s Market, close to you, visit the Michigan Farmers Market Association website.

Eating fruits and vegetables has many benefits including the reduced risk of heart disease, developing kidney stones, Type II Diabetes, high blood pressure and may help to decrease bone loss. Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in calories, sodium, fat and cholesterol and high in vitamins, minerals and fiber.

They are also lower in calories per cup and can be helpful in maintaining a healthy weight. Choose MyPlate, the United States Department of Agriculture’s new food guidance system, recommends making half your plate fruits and vegetables. For more information on serving recommendations that are based on a person’s gender, age and activity level, visit the Choose MyPlate website.

To make sure your farm-fresh food is safe to eat, 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.

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