Nothing Beets Locally Grown

Celebrate National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month by adding more color to your plate. Not only are fruits and vegetables tasty, but they provide a variety of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and fiber to help you feel energized. Fruits and veggies also help reduce the risk of many diseases including heart disease, high blood pressure and certain cancers. Widely recognized healthy eating tips urge individuals to consume mostly plant based foods, eat 4-5 cups of fruits and veggies every day, and avoid processed foods.

Ways to Get Fresh Fruits and Vegetables: Farmer’s Markets are Radish

A great way to purchase fresh fruits and veggies is by attending a farmer’s market. Farmer’s markets are community centerpieces. Shopping at markets helps support local agriculture and recirculates money back into the community. Many times, shoppers can find food that is pesticide-and herbicide-free. Since food is sourced from nearby, shopping at a market helps save the energy and petroleum that is used to ship food around the world. Plastic waste can also be prevented, just remember to bring your own reusable produce bags.

Aside from the pleasure of eating seasonally, the farmer’s market provides an opportunity to connect with your community members and have some fun! Many markets incorporate live music and events for the entire family. While walking around the market, you can feel good knowing that you are exercising, breathing in fresh air and receiving vitamin D. Also, who wouldn’t want to sample squeaky Wisconsin cheese curds?

Many individuals perceive there to be quite a hefty price tag on fresh fruits and vegetables; however, the farmer’s market offers produce at a significantly lower price than retail chains. Additionally, many markets now include Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) benefits. Fortunately, Promega employees have the convenience of an on-campus farmer’s market that operates near the parking lot of Agora West on Thursdays from 3-6 p.m.

Ways to Get Fresh Fruits and Vegetables: Backyard and Patio Gardens are a Big Dill

Another way of obtaining fresh fruits and veggies is to grow them yourself. If you do not have a market nearby, you can grow produce in your backyard. Harvesting your own plants will feel like a major accomplishment and the food will most likely taste better, since you are enjoying the fruits of your labor. No backyard? Romaine calm. You can raise herbs, tomatoes, and strawberries in pots on a stoop or in front of a well-lit window. Or check out local community gardens that allow nearby residents to “farm” a plot of land for a small fee.

Ways to Get Fresh Fruits and Vegetables: CSA Programs, Oh Kale Yeah

If you are looking for a more convenient option, you can save time by signing up for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).  These programs directly connect farmers and consumers, guaranteeing a market for their produce. There are a variety of CSAs in the Madison area. Different CSAs vary on how they accept payment (in full upfront or monthly installations). Some CSAs will deliver fresh produce directly to your door and others offer nearby pickup locations. CSAs even include recipes that can be followed using the ingredients of a specific bundle.

Ways to Get Fresh Fruits and Vegetables: Turnip for Community Gardens

With a commitment to provide locally grown ingredients for employees and to support the community in a sustainable manner, Promega operates a community garden. Logan Morrow is our Culinary Gardener. Ingredients from the garden are incorporated into the meals that are distributed on campus. Professional chefs create amazing recipes and dishes that are subsidized for affordability. Many of the ingredients are also sourced from farms around the community.

When walking inside Promega buildings, you will notice compost bins. To close the loop on food waste, Promega composts thousands of pounds of food scraps that would otherwise end up in landfills. Waste turns into beautiful finished material that adds nutrients to our crop beds, equating to higher yields and more delicious foods.

Help celebrate National Fruits and Vegetables Month by visiting a farmer’s market, purchasing seasonal produce, getting outside, planting a garden in your backyard or signing up for a local CSA. You will be doing your taste buds, your health and your community a huge favor.

Thank you to our local partners: Bluebird Farm, Blue Moon Community Farm, Blue Valley Gardens, Black Earth Valley, Garden To Be, Spring Rose Growers Cooperative, Highland Springs Farm, Nine Patch Farm, New Century Farm, Harmony Valley Farm, WiscoPop, Farmer John, Sartori, Hooks Cheese, Carr Valley Cheese, Holland’s Family Farm, Stella’s Bakery, Madison Sourdough Company, Batch Bakehouse, Alsum Farm, RP’s Pasta, Vitruviun Farm, Vern’s Cheese, Butter Mountain, Fisher Family Farm, Driftless Organics, Clasen’s Bakery, Kickapoo Coffee

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Kassidy Steyer is a social media intern who recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a Bachelor's in Business Administration, with an emphasis in Marketing and Professional Communication. She is a lover of all things food (especially cheese boards), the outdoors, flowers, coffee, and farmer's markets.

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