Before purchasing produce at Colorado farmers markets, ask questions & taste it
FARMERS MARKETS SCHEDULE
Tuesdays, 5:30-8:30 p.m. — Mesa County Fairgrounds (2785 Highway 50, Grand Junction)
Wednesdays, 5:30-8:30 p.m. — Redlands United Methodist Church (527 Village Way, Grand Junction)
Thursdays, 5:30-8:30 p.m. — Downtown Grand Junction (Third through Seventh streets on Main Street)
Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — Fruita Civic Center Park (325 E. Aspen Ave., Fruita)
Sundays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Downtown Palisade (Third and Main streets)
Fresh fruit and vegetables, picked and purchased in season, are definitely a treat. And with Grand Valley’s weekly farmers markets in full swing, there are plenty of options available.
How can you make sure you’re picking the best produce available?
Jessica Washkowiak, of Palisade’s Field to Fork CSA, suggests that everyone question a vendor about food on display.
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“First ask what was picked that day or the day before,” she said. “Ask if they grew it or purchased from another farmer. If it was purchased it was probably sitting for a while or shipped and traveled.”
Blaine Diffendaffer of Blaine’s Tomatoes and Farm in Palisade agreed.
“Ask where produce comes from at farmers markets,” he said. “If they can’t tell you exactly what farm [it came from], then don’t buy it. It’s good to know where it’s coming from so you get to know your farmer.”
According to Washkowiak, it’s important to look closely at produce before purchasing it to ensure quality.
“Look for bruises and soft spots,” she said. “Bruises will make the produce expire faster. Look for ripe and slightly green produce that can ripen at your home and get you through until next week.”
Jackson Shaw of Red Fox Run Orchards in Palisade encourages tasting at farmers markets before buying as well.
“It all comes back to taste,” he explained. “No matter what it is, you probably need to taste it. That’s why we give a lot of samples to people.”
Shaw also suggests gently handing peaches to determine ripeness.
“Take your thumb and place it on the shoulder of the peach, which is on top, and put a finger below on the opposite side,” he said. “If you gently squeeze and feel a hint of softness, that peach is ready to eat. If you feel it around the perimeter, the body, it doesn’t really tell you much and all you’re going to do is bruise the peach.”
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