Alliance for Food and Farming Launches New Food Safety Guide for National Farmers’ Market Week

For Immediate Release

August 5, 2013

Contact: Marilyn Dolan or Teresa Thorne

(831) 786-1666

(Watsonville, CA) Today, the Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF) launched a new shoppers’ guide as part of National Farmers’ Market Week to provide consumers with some quick tips to help them choose a vendor when shopping at a farmers’ market.  This new guide can be found at the safefruitsandveggies.com website and is part of the AFF’s continuing efforts to provide consumers with quick and accessible food safety information about produce.

“Many consumers who shop regularly at farmers’ markets often have developed a list of their favorite vendors,” explains Marilyn Dolan, AFF Executive Director.  “But if this is a new shopping experience or if a consumer is exploring a market they haven’t visited before, we’ve developed a brief list of food safety questions to consider asking vendors to ensure the food is grown safely and responsibly,” Dolan says. 

“By asking just a few questions from the AFF’s list, a consumer can see how knowledgeable a vendor is about the food he/she is selling and they may learn some interesting farming facts as well, which can add to the overall farmers’ market shopping experience,” Dolan adds.

An example of a question on the AFF list is “how do you control pests and diseases on your farm?”  This question is followed by consumer advice: “Listen for knowledgeable comments about the use beneficial insects, pheromone traps, crop rotation, irrigation management” to help them guide the conversation and ask appropriate follow-up questions if needed.

These suggested food safety-focused questions by the AFF are similar to those asked by local grocery stores and restaurants of the farmers who supply their fruits and vegetables.  Farmers who sell to local grocery stores are subject to stringent government laws and regulations regarding food safety and pesticide usage which are verified through enforcement measures and federal and state product sampling programs.  Vendors selling at farmers’ markets may not be subject to the same scrutiny by a buying entity or the government, therefore shoppers may want to ask just a few of these questions to learn more about how the food is produced.

“Shopping at a farmers’ markets is an enjoyable way to buy your fruits and veggies,” Dolan says.  “And, asking just a few questions can provide shoppers with a wonderful opportunity to learn more about how that food is grown and connect with farmers.  We hope this new guide helps more consumers create their own ‘favorite vendor’ list.”

The new webpage can be found at www.safefruitandveggies.com.

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