• 82°

Making the most of healthy habits

LAPLACE — June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, and knowing where local, fresh produce can be bought may be just as important as knowing how to best store it after it is purchased.

In St. John the Baptist Parish, patrons have access to the Creole Farmers’ Market, located at 5793 River Road in Wallace at the foot of the Veterans Memorial Bridge.

Regular operating hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday.

For information on the market, call 985-652-9569.

St. Charles Parish’s German Coast Farmers’ Market offers customers the opportunity to shop twice a week.

The Saturday market is held on the East Bank of the parish from 8 a.m. to noon at Ormond Plantation, located at 13786 River Road. The Wednesday market is held on the West Bank of the parish from 2:30 to 6 p.m. at the St. Charles Plaza Shopping Center, located at 12715 Highway 90 in Luling.

For more information visit germancoastfarmersmarket.org.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are just some of the offerings of the markets, which allow shoppers access to locally grown produce and other handmade goods.

Shopping at farmers’ markets can help to ensure products are fresh, and keeping purchased produce fresh for as long as possible can help to ensure families are able to best benefit from the nutritional offerings of the produce, as well as making sure nothing goes to waste.

Fruits and Veggies — More Matters, a health initiative focused on helping Americans increase fruit and vegetable consumption for better health, breaks down storage options for various fruits and vegetables on its website, fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org.

“Many fruits and vegetables should only be stored at room temperatures,” the website states.

“Refrigeration can cause cold damage or prevent them from ripening to good flavor and texture.”

Fruits and vegetables suggested to be stored at room temperature include apples (fewer than seven days), bananas, melons, pineapple, eggplant, onions, tomatoes, winter squashes and potatoes.

For some fruit — including avocados, kiwi, nectarines, peaches, pears and plums — it is recommended to let it ripen on the counter before refrigerating.

“To prevent moisture loss, store fruits separately in a paper bag, perforated plastic bag or ripening bowl on the counter away from sunlight,” the Fruits and Veggies – More Matters website states.

“Ripening fruit in a bowl or paper bag can be enhanced by placing an apple with the fruit to be ripened.”

Refrigerated storage is recommended for the majority of fresh fruits and vegetables, including apples (more than seven days), berries, cherries, grapes, sprouts, summer squashes, carrots, mushrooms, radishes, artichokes and asparagus.

Fruits and Veggies — More Matters authorities recommend placing fruits and vegetables in separated, perforated bags in the refrigerator and using them within one to three days for maximum flavor and freshness.

As far as cleaning produce goes, officials said consumers should rinse fruits and vegetables under tap water immediately prior to use, because washing too far in advance removes some natural preservatives.

However, they said lettuce or leafy greens tend to remain crisper when washed right away and then refrigerated.

Visit fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org for additional storage tips, recipes and more.