Farmers markets begin; what you need to know about food safety - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Farmers markets begin; what you need to know about food safety


Sunday's warmer weather brought many people out to one of the earlier farmers markets in Eastern Iowa. Shoppers say they like to know where their produce is coming from but there's a few things you need to know to make sure that fresh food is safe to eat.

John and Janet Reasoner spent Sunday at the first Hiawatha Farmers Market of the year.

"We get most of our food here at markets," said Janet.

The rRasoners have been going to farmers markets for years.

"We like locally grown, we like organic, we like the hormone free, anti-biotic free meats," said Janet. "We just really enjoy visiting with the people and doing our market outside."

They've gotten to know the vendors like knowing where their food is coming from.

"It's not organic but it's safe," said Paul McClaine of McClaine's Garden in Vinton. "It's what I eat. What my grand kids eat."

There are local and federal regulations in place to ensure food safety at the marketplace, but experts say contamination can still happen.

The Iowa Farmers Market Association says to make sure your food is safe to eat, check all fruits and vegetables for bruising before you buy them and pay special attention that has close contact with the ground. Once you get home, make sure you wash everything before you eat it.

At farmers markets, you get a chance to do something you can't always do at the grocery store. You can ask questions about the food and where it comes from before you buy it.

"Typically a lot of the consumers want to know if we spray, if we use herbicides, pesticides, that type of thing," said Beth Kerr of  Ineichen Tomatoes in Bluegrass. "Generally speaking we do not."

The Reasoners trust the markets and say they know who's got the best produce.

"Your get to know the vendors and pretty soon you're calling them at home to make sure they have what you want when you come to venue," said John.

They, along with many others, are glad that farmers market season has finally arrived.

Right now most of the produce available at farmers markets come from greenhouses. Farmers say if the rain dies down and the temperatures stay warm, they'll have much more to offer later this year.


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