Ask A Farmer: Philly Summer Produce Guide

April 3, 2013 7:00 AM

file: (credit: PIERRE VERDY/AFP/Getty Images)

Local farmers’ markets are some of the best ways to support your community and ensure that you’re buying the freshest produce possible for your family. Here, the managers and lead farmer at Shady Brook Farm in Yardley share their top tips for visiting and shopping at the markets this season.
%name Ask A Farmer: Philly Summer Produce Guide

Shady Brook Farm (Credit, Michelle Hein)

Paul Fleming, Dave Fleming Jr. and Rob Arcidiacono
Shady Brook Farm
931 Stony Hill Road
Yardley, PA 19067
(215) 968-1670

Founded by T. Herman Fleming in 1913, Shady Brook Farm is now run by the fourth generation of Flemings. With Paul Fleming as the farmer and Dave Fleming, Jr. as the general manager at Shady Brook, the farm is dedicated to providing fresh produce, deli, dairy and year-round family fun to the Bucks County and Philadelphia area. Rob Arcidiacono manages the Market at DelVal, Shady Brook Farm’s market located at Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, PA.

Pick Fruits That Are In Season

Eating fruit that’s in season means that you don’t need to have your food shipped to you from other climates. This cuts down on cost and leads to fresher produce. The best way to do this is to actually pick the fruit yourself. Many local farms host pick-your-own events. By going to the farm to get your food this way, you know that the produce will be the absolute freshest it can be. In addition, this is a great learning experience for children, as they’ll see how the food they eat is grown.

%name Ask A Farmer: Philly Summer Produce Guide

Produce from Shady Brook Farm (Credit, Michelle Hein)

Freeze Fresh Produce For A Later Date

If the price is reasonable and you have the room to store it, buy extra fruit and vegetables when you’re shopping at your local farmers’ market. Freeze your additional produce at the peak of the season, and you’ll be able to enjoy delicious fruit and vegetables throughout the year. If prepared properly, fruit and vegetables can be safely frozen in the freezer for six months to a year. Frozen fruits and vegetables work well for smoothies, soups, pies, muffins and many other recipes. Keeping with this idea, Shady Brook is expanding its selection of fresh frozen fruit and fresh fruit ice pops.

Involve Children In Your Produce Shopping

Childhood obesity and other health issues are big concerns for many families. Bringing children to the farmers’ market is a wonderful way to encourage healthy eating habits and discuss the benefits of fresh, local fruits and vegetables. It’s also a great way to teach children about the seasons and the different foods that grow during each season. Older children might be interested in sustainable farming practices and GMOs. Pick-your-own events are fun activities for the entire family. You get to buy fresh produce for your home, the children learn about how their food is grown. It’s an enjoyable way to spend quality time as a family.

Related: Guide to Philadelphia’s Farmers’ Markets

Make A Plan To Buy In Bulk

One of the many advantages to visiting local farms is that it’s much easier to buy in bulk than at an ordinary grocery store. Often, buying in bulk can save you a significant amount of money – but only if you have a plan on how you will use all of your produce before it goes bad! Plan out meals before buying your produce. It isn’t difficult to find a variety of recipes that will allow you to mix up your meals while still using a lot of the same ingredients. Eat soft fruits first, or set aside portions to freeze for a later date. You might also consider purchasing a juicer to create fresh fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies for your family.

Try New Fruits And Vegetables

Due to Hurricane Sandy, many farms might experience changes in their crop selection this year. For example, many apple orchards sustained great damage. Now, more than ever, is a wonderful time to try fruits and vegetables that you might not be as familiar with. Instead of sticking to your standard fare, try different greens, such as kale and daikon. Broaden your nutritional intake and make meals more exciting by making a point to try something new each time you visit the market this season.

Related: Top Vegan-Friendly Restaurants

Michelle Hein is a copy editor for a women’s fashion company in Bucks County by day and a self-proclaimed food and drink fanatic by night and weekend. She enjoys attending wine classes, trying new recipes in the kitchen and going to old favorites and new restaurants alike in the Bucks County and Philadelphia area. If the writing gig doesn’t pan out, she constantly dreams of owning her own bakery…perhaps connected to the restaurant/bar that her lawyer boyfriend would love to open.

Watch & Listen LIVE