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How to Navigate Fresh Finds at Local Farmer’s Markets

Photo credit: Getty Images/Petar Chernaev

Photo credit: Getty Images/Petar Chernaev

Wave goodbye to wilty, grocery store veggies. Warmer weather and longer days give local farmers (and more importantly, their plants) a long-overdue dose of vitamin D. Which means, all those tasty leafy greens and produce stands are about to return to your block.

Farmer’s markets are a simple, affordable way to get fresh, healthy ingredients straight from the source that also supports local farms. Lucky for you, there are 87 farmer’s markets serving the Philadelphia area, where you can get your hands on the freshest seasonal fruits and veggies.

Plus, loading your bags with antioxidant-rich foods, like fruits and veggies high in vitamins A, C, and E, is key for keeping your immune system in check during allergy season. Here’s a lineup of what’s in store this season:


In season: Asparagus, lettuce, spinach

Leafy greens like lettuce and spinach will be regulars at your market all season, but asparagus is the star of the farmer’s market in April. Asparagus contains fiber, folate, and vitamins A, C, E, and K. Try it blanched and chopped in your salad for a little extra crunch, or alongside poached eggs for a breakfast that balances protein and fiber perfectly.


In season: Radishes, peas, cabbage

Bananas get all the glory for being potassium-rich, but radishes serve up a healthy (less sugary) amount of goodness. Wash and slice radishes thin for atop your avo toast, or chop and mix into a salad for lunch. Use your snap peas for a quick snack with hummus or as a crunchy accouterment to your salad. Cabbage isn’t just for coleslaw — use the leaves for a low-carb wrap that packs magnesium, vitamin B1, and fiber.


In season: Strawberries, summer squash, cauliflower, broccoli

Get a dose of vitamin C in June. Fresh strawberries, oranges, broccoli, and bell peppers are prime sources of the sunny ingredient. Slice strawberries and serve atop avocado toast with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar for a snack. Use your fiber-rich veggies together by sautéing broccoli, cauliflower, and summer squash with a tablespoon of low-sodium soy or teriyaki sauce for a quick and delicious dinner.


In season: Raspberries, cucumbers, cherries

Cool down with fresh fruits and veggies rich in vitamin C, iron, and fiber. These anti-inflammatory powerhouses are perfect for helping reduce muscle pain as well as keeping arthritis from putting the kibosh on your summer plans. Cherries are naturally sweet ingredients that work perfectly for summer pies or eating straight out of the bowl. Bring raspberries and cukes together for a light summer salad or as flavor enhancers to keep you hydrated.


In season: Blueberries, plums, nectarines

The amount of fruit in August seems endless, but none are fresher than peaches, plums, and antioxidant-rich blueberries. Pair your favorite with a banana and spinach for a hearty smoothie that’s packed with vitamins, iron, and soluble fiber to keep you feeling full (and strong) all morning long.


In season: Grapes, pumpkins, winter squash

It’s no secret grapes are packed with nutritious vitamins called polyphenols, known for their heart-healthy powers. What you may not know is grapes are a great alternative to ice cream. Pop a cup of grapes in the freezer and enjoy as flavor enhancers to your water or as a healthier after-dinner treat.

If you’re an Independence Blue Cross member, you can get more healthful nutrition tips like this by making an appointment with a registered dietician. For some members, up to six visits to a dietician are included in your plan at no cost. To learn more, visit ibx.com.