It’s important to eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables every day to maintain a healthy diet. With so many recent product recalls due to food borne illnesses, it is a great idea to buy and eat as much fresh produce as possible, and there are many open air markets in metro Detroit to patronize, including the historic Eastern Market near downtown Detroit. Its web site states:
“The Detroit Eastern Market is the largest historic public market district in the United States. Every Saturday, Michigan's largest and most colorful market is host to more than 150 farmers and vendors from Michigan, Ohio, and Canada offering a cornucopia of fruits, vegetables, breads, baked goods, jellies, jams, honey, apple cider, cheeses, spices, herbs, plants and flowers.”
There are also many other open air markets in metro Detroit, including the following from the Michigan Farmers Markets web site directory. Click on a link for more information.
East Warren Avenue Farmers Market - Detroit
Windmill Market - Detroit
Fort - Visger CDC Farmers Market - Lincoln Park
County Line Farm Market - Spring Lake
Metro Health Farmers Market - Wyoming
Buying fresh produce
Select produce that is not bruised or damaged. If buying pre-cut produce, only buy items that are refrigerated or surrounded by ice at the market. Fresh produce should be bagged separately away from meat, poultry and seafood.
- Produce labeled “organic” means that it has come from a farm that agents of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have certified for growing produce without conventional pesticides, fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge, bioengineered ingredients or ionizing radiation.
Storing fresh produce
Perishable fresh fruits and vegetable, like strawberries, lettuce and broccoli should be stored in a refrigerator at 40 degrees F or below. All pre-cut or peeled produce should be refrigerated to maintain quality and safety. Refrigerating or freezing food stops most bacteria from growing.
Preparing fresh produce
- Always wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after preparing fresh produce.
- Thoroughly wash all produce before eating it by running it under warm water just before eating it, (even if you plan to peel it first)
- Soap and detergents should not be used, because they can absorb it. Produce wash can be used.
- Firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers, should be scrubbed with a clean produce brush.
- Triple-washed lettuces and other produce need no further washing.
- To further reduce the presence of bacteria on produce after washing it, dry it with a clean cloth towel or paper towel.
- Cut away any damaged or bruised areas on fresh produce before cooking or eating.
- Remove the outer leaves of leafy vegetables, like cabbage and lettuce.
Always wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils and counter tops with hot water and soap (or a quarter teaspoon of chlorine bleach periodically) between the preparation or raw meat, poultry and seafood and produce.
Other tips to reduce food borne illnesses
- Don’t eat raw sprouts (alfalfa, bean, clover or radish)
- Cooking a food at 160 degrees F will kill any E. coli O157:H7
- Drink only pasteurized milk, juice or cider.
- Refrigerate or freeze leftover food within 2 hours of cooking or throw them away. Use refrigerated leftovers within 4 days by reheating solid foods to 165 degrees F and boiling liquid leftovers. Toss unfinished portions.
Sources: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention