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Good weather, good food and better health: three reasons to hit the greenmarkets

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That's one sick snowstorm hitting most of the country right now. Not what anyone wanted Santa to deliver for the holidays.

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But here in south Florida, it's in the eighties, and it's the best time for walking around the greenmarkets and buying what's good. This week, a check of the Palm Beach Gardens market turned up some healthy finds and even a group of girls using food sales to help local cancer patients:

Susan Levin, the CBO (Chief Baking Officer) of Delicious Town is still making her wonderful biscotti and packaging it in bags for the holidays, but she's added something different to her lineup: savory biscotti, including a cheese and jalapeño version that's deceptively mild at first, and kicks in just when you've finished it, thinking it's a nice mild snack. It's a great alternative to bread or biscuits if you want something to go with chili, ham or scrambled eggs.

How about two fine-looking men fixing you fresh, healthy juice? The Fresh Juice King is a new addition to the market, and they get as much local produce as possible to prepare their smoothies. The secret, aside from the fresh fruits and vegetables, are the high-powered juice extractor and blender, which make a thick yet smooth beverage. You can get a drink for anything that ails you; just check the list for the proper combinations.

And for the sweetest fund-raising effort at the market, check out the Hugs And Kisses tent, with homemade brownies, muffins and cookies for a cause. These young ladies, based in Wellington, are selling baked goods every other week to raise money to assist cancer patients with their expenses, so they don't have to choose between paying for treatments and paying for food, utilities and transportation. The organization got its start in 2009 with one family trying to help a loved one face cancer. It's a wonderful example of a homegrown charity that started local and keeps its funds local.

Whether you're thinking about joining a CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) farm to get a monthly bounty of fresh produce, looking for last-minute holiday gifts or need something special for tonight's dinner, you'll find it at the local greenmarkets. And you won't have to shovel the sidewalk or scrape the ice off your car to get there.

Palm Beach Gardens Greenmarket, 10500 N. Military Trail, Palm Beach Gardens, FL Open Sunday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. through April.

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And to mark on your calendar: If you are interested in learning more about stopping food waste and how to do more with what you buy, the fourth annual Growing Green Communities Event is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 18 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Pine Jog Environmental Center, 6301 Summit Blvd., West Palm Beach. The event is sponsored by Slow Food Glades to Coast Chapter. You can learn about canning, dehydrating, composting, shopping and cooking. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children and can be purchased on the Slow Food chapter website.

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