FAQs on Farmers' Markets | Shelf Life Advice

Your questions about farmers markets answered! Where to find them, what to buy, how to store produce, and much more.

Farmers' Markets: Why They're So Popular; How to Find One Near Your Home

Farmers' Market

In 1994, when the Department of Agriculture first began publishing a list of farmers' markets in the U.S., the figure was 1,755. By 2011, it was 7,175, and, by August 2012, the number of markets had increased an additional 9.6% to 7,864.  The August 2013 figure was 8,144, a 3.6% increase  above the preceding year.   Growth in the number of markets is slowing down, but it's still ongoing. In 2016, the total was 8,669 (an increase of 2.3% from the prior year). 

What shouldn’t I do or eat at a farmers’ market?

Farmers' MarketConsider following these tips to decrease the risk of food-borne illness:

 

• Don’t drink or buy unpasteurized juices, raw (unpasteurized) milk, or unpasteurized cheese.  Fresh, unpasteurized, chemical-free beverages may taste delicious, but they’ve been known to harbor E.coli, which can cause serious illness.

 

• Don’t snack on fruit until you’ve washed it well.

 

• Don’t buy canned (jarred) vegetables or garlic-in-oil unless you know these were prepared in an inspected kitchen.

What Foods are Sold with Restrictions at a Farmers’ Market?

Farmers' MarketRestrictions and prohibitions on what foods can be sold and how they must be handled vary from state to state and from community to community.  You might find the rules  in your state and community listed online.

 

Regulations about foods commonly differentiate between those that are potentially hazardous  and those that are not.  Some farmers’ markets may prohibit all potentially hazardous ones, but most prohibit only some of these and stipulate how those they allow must be handled.  Some foods classified as potentially hazardous include dairy products, meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, sliced melons, raw sprouts, cut tomatoes, tofu, and garlic-in-oil mixtures.   All of these must be kept at the proper cool temperatures to avoid a dangerous level of pathogens.

How should I handle produce at home?

Tips about proper handling of fruits and vegetables for safety and long shelf life are covered on ShelfLifeAdvice.com in the following locations:

 

For information about fresh fruits in general, click here: http://shelflifeadvice.com/fruit/fresh-fruit

 

For information about fresh vegetables in general, click here: http://shelflifeadvice.com/vegetables/fresh-vegetables

 

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