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The Eat One Local Food A Day Challenge!

Hello everyone, Gingi Freeman here with the Visalia Farmers Market! As a Visalia Farmers Market shopper and employee, I frequently have customers asking me about or telling me about new vegetables, herbs and fruits that appear on our local farmer’s tables at the market. And there are A LOT of new and unusual foods that rotate in every month (and sometimes every week)!

Sometimes it can be overwhelming trying to taste all of the interesting flavors our local farmers can serve up. Filling your market tote with something new and unknown, and still filling the pantry for the week with the true and tried can sometimes be tricky!
My personal approach to this conundrum? I strive to include ONE new local food a day into my diet. This usually means buying 7 different kinds of fruits, veggies, herbs or nuts at the Farmers Market – one for each day of the week.
Not all of my food choices are designed to push me out of my comfort zone. Some are simply trying a new variety of kale or a farmer’s favorite variety of cherry. Some are foods I have had a thousand times before (I grabbed some good old white onions for one food option this week.) But when I am feeling saucy, I will include some bitter melon greens, Buddha’s hand citron or something similarly adventurous or exotic in the culinary world!
It’s simple (maybe overly so) and might just be the least challenging of food challenges, but it is a fun way to incorporate more local flavor, variety and healthy foods into your life! The market is so much more enjoyable when you shop on a mission!
Remember, variety is the spice of life so give something new a try. You never know….you just might find that new food that you will love!
Are you going to join me and take the Eat One Local Food a Day challenge? Let us know and be sure to hashtag your social media posts with #visaliafarmersmarket
Gingi Freeman
Media Manager, Visalia Farmers Market
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Learn More About Legislation That Affects YOUR Farmers Market

This is a post for the Farmers Market geeks out there! Get a little peek into the inner workings of your local Certified Farmers Market, and learn more about how these laws affect your shopping experience!

AB 1871

AB 1871 was signed into law in September 2014. This requires that farmers and ranchers at Certified Farmers Markets conspicuously post signs or banner that:
  • Identify the name of their farm or ranch
  • Specify the location of their farm or ranch
  • Declare “We Grow What We Sell”, or an equivalent statement
How this affects the Visalia Farmers Markets:
From our founding in 1979, we have always been committed to providing a transparent, hands on experience for the community to come and meet, greet, interact with and purchase fresh produce from local family farmers. As such, signage with the above standards are nothing new to our markets!
When you shop at our markets, you can be certain to quickly identify who each booth belongs to, where the produce was grown or cultivated, and rest assured that our farmers grow what they sell!

AB 2004

AB 2004 was signed into law in January 2015. AB 2004 allow Certified Farmers Markets to now sell and sample locally brewed beer! The law requires that beer vendors:
  • Have their beer ingredients certified and to comply with all requirements for certified producers
  • Sell only beer that was brewed in a brewery in the same, or in an adjacent county
How this affects the Visalia Farmers Markets:
With the law going into effect with the beginning of 2016, The Visalia Farmers Markets were one of the FIRST markets in the state of California to welcome a local brewery into our markets! On Thursday nights and Saturday mornings you can find Kaweah Brewing Company sampling some of their fine, locally brewed ales and beers! Come on out for a sample and to pick up a bottle or two! (Or three! Hey, it’s great stuff!)

AB 2488

AB2488 was signed into law in July 2014. This allows Certified Farmers Market to sell and sample locally produced wines! The law requires that wine vendors:
  • Must sell only wines produced entirely from grapes or other agricultural products they have grown
  • Must bottle their own wines that they have produced
How this affects the Visalia Farmers Markets:
We are extremely excited to welcome wine producers to our markets, ranging from some of our longtime members such as berry grower Rancho Not So Grande now offering specialty berry wines, to new members such as Cacciatore Fine Wines. Keep an eye out for wine tasting at our market in the near future as more and more local wine makers seek to join the Farmers Market scene by producing wines made with locally grown grapes!

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AB 2539

AB 2539 is a preexisting law that was amended in August of 2014. This law deals with environmental health. The cover such topics as:
  • Safety standards for handing and sampling products at the market
  • Sets guidelines for the safe transport of products to and from the market
  • Prohibits smoking within 25 feet of a Farmers Market
How this affects the Visalia Farmers Markets:
The Visalia Farmers Market is committed to providing a safe and sanitary environment for our local shoppers and we have a stellar record of being a market with high standards – both for our farmers and our customers! Not only is the market the best source of fresh, local produce in town, it is also one of the safest and cleanest!
We hope you learned something new about your local Farmers Market! Thank you for being a part of our market family as we grow and expand! See you at the market!
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Berry Goodness Smoothie

Berries are officially back at the Visalia Farmers Markets! We couldn’t be more excited. The first few berry boxes that roll off of our local farmers pickup trucks and flatbeds herald the official dawn of the upcoming summer in the Central Valley.

And what better way to celebrate late spring / early summer in the Valley than an ice cold chilly smoothie to beat back the inevitable summer heat? This smoothie is not only delicious, but nutritious too!
Berries are rich in antioxidants which help your body fight cell damage, premature aging and oxidative stress linked to the development of numerous diseases. All fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants, but nutrient-rich berries are some of the absolute best sources, making fresh market berries a guilt free indulgence and healthy treat.
Berries are also a great source of fiber, and when combined with avocado, banana and the hydration from coconut water, this smoothie mix will also help detoxify and replenish electrolytes. Give it a try! It is as simple as it is delicious.
INGREDIENTS 
1 handful of baby spinach leaves
½ a small avocado
1 cup of mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries)
1 banana
1 ½ cups of coconut water or purified water
Ice cubes
WHAT TO DO 
Freeze the berries first to give your smoothie and extra chilled factor. Then simply blend all ingredients together and enjoy!
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Antioxidant Rich Artichokes

As vegetables go, the artichoke is among the most fascinating visually. It is as beautiful as it is delightful to eat. While many view it as a vegetable, the artichoke is actually the bud of a flower from the thistle family and at full maturity, the plant grows to a width of about six feet and a height of three to four. If not harvested from the plant, the bud will eventually blossom into a beautiful, blue-violet flower!

The bud of the artichoke flower contains the heart, the coveted meaty core of the artichoke, and is topped by a fuzzy center, or choke, which is surrounded by rows of petals, which protect the artichoke heart. With their tiny thorns, the artichoke’s petals reveal their thistle heritage. (The thorns aren’t a problem if handled carefully and they soften in cooking.)
The artichoke is a low-calorie, nutrient-rich vegetable. According to the USDA, one medium artichoke is an excellent source of fiber and vitamin C, and a good source of folate and magnesium. Artichokes are a delicious way to get nutrients that research shows we typically lack in our diets — fiber, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and above all, antioxidants!
Artichokes contain phytonutrients, or plant compounds that have antioxidant properties and promote human health. Some of the most powerful, polyphenol-type antioxidants are found in artichokes, a few of which are highlighted below:
QUERCETIN
A flavonoid that works as an anti-carcinogen and antioxidant to protect against cancer and heart disease.
RUTIN
A flavonoid that promotes vascular health, helps prevent cell proliferation associated with cancer, and has anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic properties.
ANTHOCYANINS
Color pigments in artichokes that are associated with a lower risk of certain cancers, urinary tract health, memory function and healthy aging.
GALLIC ACID
An antioxidant also found in red wine and black tea. It has been shown to inhibit cell proliferation in prostate cancer cells.
LUTEOLIN AND CYNARIN
Polyphenol antioxidants that may lower cholesterol levels. Artichokes contain cyanarin, which may also help in regeneration of liver tissue.
CAFFEIC ACID AND CHLOROGENIC ACID
Contain anti-cancer, antimicrobial, anti-LDL (bad cholesterol) and antiviral properties.
SILYMARIN
This antioxidant may aid the liver in regenerative tissue growth.
Our bodies are battlegrounds for infection and diseases. Simple body functions, such as breathing in city air, and other lifestyle habits, such as smoking, produce substances called free radicals that attack healthy cells, causing oxidation (a process similar to “rusting”). When these healthy cells are weakened, they are more susceptible to heart disease and certain types of cancer. Antioxidants help protect healthy cells from damage caused by free radicals.

When it comes to nutrition, no one can out smart Mother Nature. Artichokes, with their beautiful packaging and exquisite taste, offer a unique nutritional inventory.

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Mothers Day Weekend at the Farmers Market

Mother’s Day is Sunday May 8, making the Saturday morning Visalia Farmers Market the perfect place to stop, shop and have a lovely stroll with mother dearest.. (and a great place to shop and play with your kids!) Kids can stop by the Community Corner booth and make mom a card for Mothers Day (free craft for all ages) but ALSO, the first 50 mothers to the market can stop by the Information Booth and pick up a $2 Gift Card, our gift to you for being an awesome mother!

There are lots of great ideas for Mother’s Day at your local farmers market if you just look around. Some of them come in cute little jars and wrappers (such as the assorted fruit spreads by Top of the Hill or Lancaster Creations all natural herbal toiletries). Other gifts are best experienced, well, through experience! Here are some gift ideas found at the Visalia Farmers Market:
1. Cook Mom a Meal
Nothing quite says “Thank you” like a home-cooked meal made from fresh, local ingredients. Served as breakfast in bed, or family-style with all the kids gathered around, as long as you clean up afterward, Mom is sure to be impressed with this idea. Try: Sweet & Savory Baked French Toast or Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus, or Chocolate Avocado Fudge.
2. Plant Mom a Garden
There are all kinds of ways to improve a landscape through gardening, but you’ll find so much more than florals at the farmers market this time of year. You’ll also find herbs and edible plants as well. Consider the space you have to work with, then visit the market Saturday morning and ask for advice from any of our multiple flower and plant vendors – or pay a visit to the Master Gardeners booth! Whether you decide on a back porch container garden of herbs or just a few bright floral accents, you’re giving a gift that can be enjoyed time and again.
3. Let Mom Shop for Herself
Visit the Market Information Table to purchase Visalia Farmers Market Gift Certificates. This gives Mom the freedom to shop at her leisure. Gift certificates are available in $10 denominations and they can be spent with any vendor at any of the Visalia Farmers Markets (including Downtown on Thursdays and in Porterville). Want bonus points? Build a gift basket and add the gift certificates to it! It’s easy to make a nice gift… even on a budget.
4. Experience the Market with Mom
Enjoy a nice, sunny, Saturday morning at the Visalia Farmers Market with live music by the Tayters. Start the day by sampling jams at Top of the Hill and beer from Kaweah Brewing Company, and pick out some new goodies together. Sip a coffee drink from Slow Train Coffee or The Twisted Bean. Gather ingredients from market vendors and plan a meal you can cook together. Once your market shopping trip is done, head into downtown Visalia and experience the local art scene at the downtown murals or at Arts Visalia!
Looking for some specific ideas / vendors to check out? Here are some tasty gift ideas from the Visalia Farmers Market!
Shower her with locally grown flowers. Choose freshly picked sweet peas, cosmos, amaranth, calendula, irises, and more from Whole Systems Agriculture, European Gardens, Maddy’s Secret Garden, Backyard Bouquet Nursery, or pick up an air fern from Plant in the Air!
Show your mom how sweet she is and give her locally harvested honey from Wells Apiaries or Cornett Farms.
For more treats, try delicious confections, dried fruit, nuts, cookies, and more from Top of the Hill, Twisted Lemon Branch, Ci’s Bakery, Ciera Farms, Dates by Davall or Hamada Farms.
Serve her breakfast in bed with freshly squeezed juice from Rancho Padre, Lindcove Ranch or Ferry Farms or make your own using citrus from Stearns Foothill Farms or Cottage Grove.
Create a home spa kit for total R&R with herbal hydrosols from Lancaster Creations, handcrafted soaps from Soaps Plus, and hand sewn heating packs from Bee Happy Babies.

Remember, “it’s the thought that counts” absolutely applies on Mother’s Day. Take the time to consider what your Mom likes and what makes her unique. It’s a safe bet you’ll find something that will make her smile right here at your local farmers market – even if it’s just a day spent together.

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Spring Greens Greek Salad

This is a quick and easy salad that utilizes some of the best of springtime and early summer veggies! This recipe serves 2, and is easy to double, triple or scale down for a light snack!
Ingredients:
2 cups mixed spring greens salad
2 cups shredded kale
1 cucumber, sliced
1 tomato, chopped
½ cup sliced red onion
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh minced oregano
½ teaspoon salt
How to Make:
Combine the spring greens, kale, cucumber, tomato, onion and cheese in a large bowl.
Whisk together the oil, lemon juice, oregano and salt in a small bowl. Pour over the lettuce mixture and toss until coated.

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