Farmers' Market Produce Guide

Heading to the farmers' market? Here's what to look for to select the tastiest produce. We list 16 farmers' market staples, their health benefits, plus some great recipes.
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Asparagus

How to select: Look for firm stalks with moist ends and tight tips that aren't wilted or broken
How to store: to keep up to 4 days in the refrigerator, wrap the ends of the stalks in a damp paper towel ands tore in a plastic bag.
Pairs well with: parmesan cheese, eggs, feta, shallots,leeks, beets, bell peppers, eggplant, tomatoes

For the nutritional benefits of Asparagus, plus more prep ideas and great recipes, click here.

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Avocados

How to select: hold in the palm of your hand and squeeze– it should yield to gentle pressure. Skin should be unblemished, but color is not an indicator of ripeness
How to store: store rip avocados on the counter if you plan to eat them within one day. To speed up ripening place in a brown paper bag with an apple or a banana; to slow ripening, or make a ripe avocado last longer, store in the refrigerator.
Pairs well with: eggs, ricotta, goat cheese, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, mango, black beans, grains, radishes

For the nutritional benefits of Avocados, plus more prep ideas and great recipes, click here.

Basil

Basil

How to select: look for deep green, untitled leaves that are fragrant and free of brown spots.
How to store: trim stem end and loosely wrap basil in a damp paper towel. Seal in a zip-top bag and refrigerate no more than 2 days in either the crisper or fridge door (basil leaves wilt quickly). Wash and dry before using.
Pairs well with: Tomatoes (obviously), eggplant, corn, peaches, strawberries, mint, parsley, bell peppers, mozzarella.

For the nutritional benefits of Basil, plus more prep ideas and great recipes, click here.

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Bell Peppers

How to select: Peppers should have taut, smooth skin and feel heavy for their size.
How to store: Keep refrigerated in a plastic bag and eat within 5 days. If skin begins to slacken, use as soon as possible.
Pairs well with: Quinoa, couscous, corn, beans, eggplant, onions, cilantro, beef, chicken

For the nutritional benefits of Bell Peppers, plus more prep ideas and great recipes, click here.

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Blackberries

How to select: Look for rich, deep color (some may be two-toned; this does not mean they are underripe). Berries should not be packed too tightly or appear wet or shriveled.
How to store: Place in a shallow container, cover loosely and refrigerate for 3 to 6 days. Wash just before using.
Pairs well with: Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, peaches, nectarines, citrus, mint, basil, thyme

For the nutritional benefits of Blacberries, plus more prep ideas and great recipes, click here.

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Cilantro

How to select: Look for crisp, not limp, stalks and green, unwilted leaves with a light citrus fragrance.
How to store: Wrap loosely in a damp paper towel to prevent wilting, seal in a zip-top bag and refrigerate 1 to 2 days (the leaves lose flavor quickly). Wash and dry just before using.
Pairs well with: Avocados, tomatoes, onions, chiles, corn, black beans, grains (quinoa, bulgur), radishes

For the nutritional benefits of Cilantro, plus more prep ideas and great recipes, click here.

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Corn

How to select: Ears should have green husks and fresh-looking silks. Kernels should be in tight rows and plump, not shriveled, at the tip.
Keep it fresh: Keep refrigerated in the husk for up to 2 days.

Pairs well with: Cilantro, garlic, tomatoes, feta cheese, black beans, chiles, scallions, bell peppers

For the nutritional benefits of Corn, plus more prep ideas and great recipes, click here.

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Eggplant

How to select: Eggplant should have smooth skin and feel heavy for its size.

Keep it fresh: Store in your refrigerator's crisper drawer for 5 to 7 days.
Pairs well with: Tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, chickpeas, mint, basil

For the nutritional benefits of Eggplant, plus more prep ideas and great recipes, click here.

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Green Beans

How to select: Look for slender, bright green beans that snap easily when bent. Avoid if the inner beans appear very large in their pods (a sign of too-late harvesting).
Keep it fresh: Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator up to 1 week. Wash just before using.

Pairs well with: Corn, tomatoes, garlic, orange zest, almonds, chiles, soy sauce, sesame seeds, radishes

For the nutritional benefits of Green Beans, plus more prep ideas and great recipes, click here.

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Mint

How to select: Look for bright green, fragrant leaves that aren't wilted or blemished.
Keep it fresh: Discard any plastic cartons or fasteners, trim stem ends and loosely wrap mint in a damp paper towel. Seal in a zip-top bag and refrigerate 2 to 4 days. Wash and dry just before using.
Pairs well with: Potatoes, peas, strawberries, rhubarb, lamb, tomatoes, dark chocolate

For the nutritional benefits of Mint, plus more prep ideas and great recipes, click here.

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Plums

How to select: Look for unblemished skin that still retains a whitish cast (called the “bloom”); semi-firm fruit is ideal, but avoid very hard plums, which are immature.
Keep it fresh: Ripen plums at room temperature until fruit yields easily to pressure. Either eat ripe plums right away or refrigerate to make them last 1 to 2 days longer.
Pairs well with: Goat cheese, pork, raspberries, arugula, basil

For the nutritional benefits of Plums, plus more prep ideas and great recipes, click here.

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Radishes

How to select: Choose colorful, unblemished radishes with fresh green leafy tops.

Keep it fresh: Store radishes and tops in separate plastic bags in the refrigerator crisper drawer. Radishes keep up to 1 week, but tops should be eaten as soon as possible (cook them like spinach).

Pairs well with: Peas, oranges, fennel, leeks, avocado, mint, carrots, cucumbers, baby lettuces

For the nutritional benefits of Radishes, plus more prep ideas and great recipes, click here.

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Romaine Lettuce

How to select: Look for tightly packed heads with crisp, bright green outer leaves.
Keep it fresh: Rinse and dry thoroughly, then refrigerate in a plastic bag in a crisper drawer up to 7 days.

Pairs well with: Chicken, eggs, beans, tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, strong-flavored cheeses, avocado, thick dressings like Caesar

For the nutritional benefits of Romaine Lettuce, plus more prep ideas and great recipes, click here.

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Strawberries

How to select: Choose symmetrical, bright red berries with no white around the stem and bright, unwilted green caps. Avoid berries that are dull, shriveled or mushy.
Keep it Fresh: Place in a shallow container, cover loosely and refrigerate up to 2 days. Wash just before using, as moisture leads to quicker spoilage.
Pairs well with: Spinach, arugula, shallots, corn, raspberries, blueberries, feta, Brie, goat cheese, balsamic vinegar, basil, mint, quinoa, couscous

For the nutritional benefits of Strawberries, plus more prep ideas and great recipes, click here.

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Tomatoes

How to select: Choose symmetrical, bright red berries with no white around the stem and bright, unwilted green caps. Avoid berries that are dull, shriveled or mushy.
Keep it Fresh: Place in a shallow container, cover loosely and refrigerate up to 2 days. Wash just before using, as moisture leads to quicker spoilage.
Pairs well with: Spinach, arugula, shallots, corn, raspberries, blueberries, feta, Brie, goat cheese, balsamic vinegar, basil, mint, quinoa, couscous

For the nutritional benefits of Tomatoes, plus more prep ideas and great recipes, click here.

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Zucchini

How to select: Look for shiny, firm, unblemished skin; it's OK if it feels slightly prickly.
Keep it fresh: Refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to 5 days. Wash just before using to keep fresh longer.
Pairs well with: Goat cheese, mint, tomatoes, eggplant, corn, asparagus

For the nutritional benefits of Zucchini, plus more prep ideas and great recipes, click here.