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Farmers markets in Sacramento need to carry more organic produce

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It would be great if farmers markets in Sacramento carried more organic items. Where are the organic cherries and grapes now that warm weather is here? The stores or farmers markets that carry organic items through the summer are few, although you find some vendors saying they spray their blossoms with pesticides not their berries. Still, customers paying higher prices at some farmers' markets would like organic foods not sprayed at all with the type of pesticides non-organic food is sprayed. If you're interested in green food, coops, transportation of produce, and healthy living Information, you might check out such programs as the "Food Protection Program-Sacramento County Environmental Ubuntu Green — Where Sustainable, Equitable Communities Unite."

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You may wish to check out the article, "Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Sprouts Farmers Market: Stop Selling Genetically Modified Food." It's noteworthy to check out prices at local farmer's markets. For example today, the Saturday morning farmers market in Macy's parking lot had one produce stand selling blueberries for $4 for a small container which look like such a little bit when put in a small paper bag. Compare that price with the usual $5 average cost for a whole bag of frozen blueberries in most supermarkets in Sacramento.

If you're interest in the food coopers, you may wish to check out the site, "Food Coops - Green People." And if you like to make other products from foods such as deodorants, you may wish to see, "How to make greener deodorants from foods." If you use public transit to get to various natural food stores, and need transportation information, check out the site, "Sacramento Regional Transit District Home Page."

With blueberries in farmers markets selling for so much for such a small amount, you have no knowledge of where the blueberries come from, local, not local, organic, not organic, or any other information of what you're getting for your four dollars. If you're looking for a market that sells numerous organic foods, also see, "Whole Foods Market | WholeFoodsMarket.com." There's also the Sacramento Natural Food Coop, and other sources of organic foods in Sacramento, including the natural food aisles of some supermarkets and various food markets.

There was no indication of whether the blueberries were organic or not. Although the parking lot farmer's markets on Saturdays are great for getting more people to buy vegetables from outdoor vendors, the question is whether the farmers sell products they grow themselves, in which many have signs posted that's what they do, or whether the various vendors at any given farmer's markets are selling produce they get from the large produce manufacturers rather than from small family farms in the local area.

It would be great if some farmers markets would be open in the afternoons, for example from noon to 3:00 p.m. instead of always having a rule of being open in the mornings and closing at noon or early in the afternoon. Seniors and people with disabilities often wake later and are not out and about their neighborhoods until after the noon hour, and back home before sunset, rather than just being out in the morning.

This is particular applicable to pedestrians who don't have cars or who use public transit and have to push utility carts to get to the parking lots, public parks, or other areas. Some farmers' markets are in the parking lots of local medical centers and hospitals in the Sacramento area. In other cities as well as in Sacramento, medical-center-based farmers markets do encourage healthier eating choices, especially if someone has to choose between a bag of vegetables or a fast-food burger and fries.

Medical center-based farmers markets improve health

Farmers markets at medical centers may contribute to greater wellness in surrounding communities while adding public health value to a market's mission, say Penn State College of Medicine researchers who have developed and evaluated a market created at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. You may wish to check out the abstract of the research, "Public Health Potential of Farmers’ Markets on Medical Center Campuses: A Case Study From Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center," published December 2011 in the American Journal of Public Health.

"Farmers markets are serving public health by increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, revitalizing neighborhoods, strengthening local economies and empowering community members to learn more about the items they buy," said Daniel George, Ph.D., according to the February 9, 2012 news release, "Medical center-based farmers markets improve health." George is an assistant professor, Department of Humanities. "Markets are increasingly viewed as one part of the solution to national chronic health problems."

A growing national trend is creating partnerships that strengthen the abilities of medical centers and clinics to provide complete, patient-centered care and serve community health through farmers markets

Of the 7,175 known farmers markets in the U.S. more than a hundred are located on medical center campuses. George and College of Medicine scientist Wade Edris started the Farmers Market in Hershey in spring 2010. George and colleagues from the Division of Internal Medicine recently reported the results of their case study in the American Journal of Public Health.

The Farmers Market in Hershey has five goals: increase community access to healthy locally grown foods, support local farmers engaged in sustainable practices, establish opportunities for community wellness partnerships, build a community space for interaction between employees of the large Medical Center and residents from surrounding neighborhoods, and pay homage to the agricultural heritage of the land surrounding the Medical Center

Efforts to promote healthy eating and lifestyle practices in the community in supermarkets, schools and worksites often show promising short-term effects. However, these programs often face personnel and resource challenges that stem largely from lack of long-term funding.

"To alter dietary and lifestyle choices over the long term, there is a need to establish settings that can provide a more sustainable supply of personnel and resources," George said, according to the news release. "Medical center campuses can be a promising venue for promoting healthful lifestyle changes."

For example, medical center markets can enable nursing and medical students and residents to develop their health screening and program management skills, researchers and graduate students interested in evaluating market-based initiatives, and volunteer staff committed to improving community health.

In addition, market vendors can contribute to this sustainability through health-related programming such as healthy food demonstrations, distributing healthy recipes and participating in federal nutrition supplementation programs. Through this sustainable commitment, programs have a better chance to support long-term health benefits for customers.

Some farmers' markets have 80 percent organic items

The Farmers Market in Hershey is held once a week and aims for at least 80 percent organic items for sale, including fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meats, baked goods, coffee, and specialty items like spices, honey, sauces, flowers and prepared foods. Community wellness programming through medical professional-led activities that promote public health education is a major strategic focus that differentiates the Farmers Market in Hershey from other markets. Three rent-free booths are reserved each week for community health outreach.

"The overarching vision for the market was to combine agricultural, medical and community resources so that the Farmers Market in Hershey will significantly contribute to the long-term health of the region and model how a partnership between a medical center and a farmers market can provide more comprehensive care for patients and families," George said, according to the news release.

Organizers asked hospital staff to educate their patients about the opportunities to purchase local fresh foods and participate in free wellness programs offered at the market

"The key differentiating point for a farmers market located on a medical center campus is the proximity of experts in areas such as medicine, public health, nutrition, kinesiology and psychology, which enables the market to serve as a credible community venue for powerful public health promotion," George said, according to the news release.

Researchers say more analysis needs to be done of the effects of farmers markets on medical center campuses. The characteristics of market customers, the barriers to attending and the effectiveness of the market need to be evaluated more closely. Other authors of the article are Jennifer Kraschnewski, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor, Department of Public Health Sciences, and Liza Rovniak, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of medicine.

Setting up your own local certified farmers market?

Would you like to fulfill the American dream and set up your own certified farmer's market even if you don't sell produce during the cold season, but instead are an artisan or sell crafts or are a food vendor? Would you like to set up a seasonal farmer's market in your area?

California Certified Farmers' Markets (CCFM) provides services that help farmers sell and market their produce directly to consumers. The organization also provide similar services to artisans, crafters and food vendors. Some farmers' markets are seasonal, and others operate all year. It's best to check with the particular market in your area to see which farmers' markets operate during the winter.

Certified farmers' markets

CCFM specializes in setting up Farmers' Markets, for the benefit of small Californian certified farmers, local government agencies and the neighborhoods where the markets are run. CCFM's data bank of farmers and growers exceeds over 3000 producers and over 45,000 consumers.

If you want to set up a seasonal farmer's market in Sacramento, you don't have to sell farm produce now that the autumn season is about to start at the end of September. Instead, you can provide services as a crafter, artisan, or food vendor. Or during the summer, you can add produce. Check out the website of CCFM, California Certified Farmers Markets if you're interested in becoming a member. Or maybe you'd just like to find a farmer's market near you in Sacramento.

Find out more about Sacramento's food protection program at the website, Food Protection Program-Sacramento County Environmental. Or find an organization that focuses on green health goals such as Ubuntu Green — Where Sustainable, Equitable Communities Unite. Maybe you want to locate nearby Sacramento coops and "green-health minded" people. Then check out the site, Food Coops - Green People.

Are you interested in transportation and green health? See, Sacramento Regional Transit District Home Page for information on when free rides may be offered on public transportation on days when the air is heavily polluted such as "Spare the Air Days."

Check out the site, Farm Fresh to You. The farm is in Capay, CA, in Yolo County, near Davis. at Farm Fresh to You has organic produce home. Check out information about the farm's delivery service. The farm was founded in 1976.

Directions from Sacramento are to take Interstate 5 North through Woodland to the Highway 16 W/Esparto exit. Take the exit and turn left; then travel three miles to second stoplight. Turn right onto Highway 16. Follow Highway 16 through Esparto and Capay. The farm is a 1/4 mile past the town of Capay on the right.

Look for the Farm Fresh to You event signs and turn onto the gravel road that leads to the parking area. The farm is located 90 miles northeast of San Francisco and 30 minutes northwest of Sacramento. The farm address is 23800 State Highway 16, Capay, CA 95607. Check out when farm tours resume, usually around March each year.

Directions From the Bay Area:

Take Interstate 80 East to Interstate 505 North. Go approximately 20 miles; exit on Highway 16/Esparto, turn left at the light. Follow Highway 16 through Esparto and Capay. The farm is a 1/4 mile past the town of Capay on the right. Look for the Farm Fresh to You event signs and turn onto the gravel road that leads to the parking area.

About Farm Fresh to You

Farm Fresh to You was founded in 1992 by Kathleen Barsotti to bring organic produce from the farm to customers at home. Today, Farm Fresh to You is run by her sons, Noah, Thaddeus and Freeman. Originally, Farm Fresh to You had just a few delivery routes, but the company now delivers to thousands of customers in Northern and Southern California. The company also farms in the Imperial Valley in Southern California. Farm Fresh to You also has a retail store in San Francisco’s Ferry Building.

Resources and Helpful Sites

Farm Fresh to You
Capay Organic
Facebook Farm Fresh to You
Twitter Farm Fresh to You
Twitter Capay Organic

Where are the farmers' markets in Sacramento that are members of the California Federation of Certified Farmer's Markets? Check first which farmers' markets are all year round and which are seasonal

Market Location

Sundays Sacramento Central CFM 8th & W Streets under Highway 50/80

Tuesdays Sacramento Fremont Park CFM Fremont Park, 16th & P Streets

Sacramento Roosevelt Park Roosevelt Park - 9th & P Streets

Wednesdays Sacramento Chavez Plaza CFM Chavez Plaza - 10th & J Streets

Thursdays Capitol Mall CFM 6th Street and Capitol Mall along the street

East End State Capitol Park CFM 15th and L Sts

Sacramento Florin CFM Florin Sears - Florin Road and 65th Street

Fridays Sacramento Kaiser CFM Cottage Way and Morse Avenue

St. Rose of Lima Park CFM 7th and K Sts

Saturdays Del Paso Heights Farmers' Market

Norwood Avenue and San Juan Road

Natomas Certified Farmers' Market Inderkum High School parking lot in N. Natomas.

Oak Park Farmers Market McClatchy Park, 35th Street and 5th Ave

Country Club Plaza Farmers Market: All year 'round

Sacramento Country Club Plaza CFM Country Club Plaza, Watt and El Camino Avenues (Macy's parking lot area in Arden Arcade.)

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