Quality Produce in St. Petersburg

$12.82. That is how much I paid for produce this morning at my local Saturday Morning Market. In downtown St. Petersburg we are lucky enough to have a farmer’s market at our fingertips. Today I bought bananas, mushrooms, asparagus, bell peppers, strawberries (Plant City style), apples and onions all for $12.82. Normally at Publix I would be paying $15 or more for all those goodies.

This was the first time I have purchased produce from this market, or any market for that matter and I’m cursing myself for waiting so long! I was motivated to buy today from the book I recently purchased, Eat This Not That: Supermarket Survival Guide. I am a huge fan of this book and this is author and Men’s Health Editor-In-Chief, David Zinczenko’s best yet. Just from the produce I bought today, I’ll give you a few facts and benefits of each.

Bananas: available year-round, store green, unripe fruit away from direct heat and sun. If you want to speed up the riping process put those green bananas in a paper bag. The benefits include B6 (USDA says this fruit helps prevent cognitive decline)

Mushrooms: Avoid dark spots or brittle caps. Best from Nov.-April. To store cover fungi with a moist towel and refrigerate for 3-5 days. Great to boost your immune system and tumor-suppressing.

Asparagus: Best when they are bright green from top to bottom with purple-tinged buds. Best to consume March-June. Trim the ends and stand upright in a little water, cover tops with plastic bag, good for 3-5 days. These spears have folate and a B vitamin that reduced inflammation and protects the heart.

Strawberries: Bright red color with no mushy spots. Best from June-Aug. (unless you live in Florida). These berries will last 2-3 days in the fridge. Packed with Vitamin C.

Bell Peppers: Bright and solid green color. Great to eat July-Dec. Can be refrigerated up to 2 weeks. Loaded with antioxidants, vitamin C and vitamin A.

Onions: Crisp skin, no dents or dark spots. Great to use year-round. Store this veggie in a cool, dark place for up to 3-4 weeks. GPCS is a peptide known for reducing bone loss in experimental rates plus has the benefit of the cancer-fighting compound quercetin.

Apples: Firm skin, bright in color with no brusing. Best to eat Sept.- May. Keep apples in a plastic bag away from other veggies to ensure freshness. Contains quercetin which is linked to better heart-health, plus soluble fiber pectic which helps control cholesterol.

Whew. After all that, I think you know what is best. Use your search engines and find your local farmer’s market, or if you’re near St. Pete check it out every Saturday from 9 a.m.- 2 p.m.