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Vegetables at a farmer's market

Shop with food safety in mind at farmer’s markets this summer

Getting fresh produce is easier in the summer thanks to local farmer’s markets. Buying from the source allows you to visit with farmers to learn more about your food and how it was grown. Whether you purchase inside a store or outside at a market, be aware of food safety guidelines to ensure you only buy things that are safe to eat.

Here are some things to look for as you shop:

Fresh produce

Clean and fresh, no cuts or nicks
Displayed off the ground/floor

Cut or peeled produce

Displayed on/surrounded by ice
Looks fresh and cold

Meats, eggs, cheeses

Feels cold; product in cooler/on ice
Eggs are clean, cool and not cracked


Must be pasteurized, per Kansas regulations - ask vendor to confirm

Juice, cider

Pasteurized is safest

Hot prepared foods

Vendor should use a thermometer
Has a lid, steam is rising from pan


Observe vendors washing their hands

Booth/personal cleanliness

Booth, knives, and utensils are clean
Clean clothes, hands, not wiping nose.


Look for any posted food safety certifications/trainings attended


Food safety from store to table

Make food shopping your last stop. Don’t stock up on groceries then run errands. Your food could spoil or lose quality.

Keep raw meat separate from other foods, as leaking meat juices can contaminate fresh produce.

Make your meat and dairy selections last. While it’s not as convenient, gather non-perishable items first, then produce, then meat, then dairy. Save frozen items for last and utilize their cold temperature by placing them close to dairy products.

At home, make sure to store your produce properly to maintain its quality and safety. Check out our printable guide to safe food storage and keep it on your fridge for reference!

Thoroughly wash all produce under hot running water even if you don’t eat the peel; dirt can transfer through to the inside. So yes, wash your onions! No need for soap or commercial produce washes; clean running water is enough. Use clean scrub brushes for tough or dimpled skin produce like potatoes and melons.

Finally, only purchase what you’ll consume between shopping trips. According to the USDA, 31% of food in the United States ends up in the landfill. That’s 133 billion pounds!


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