Summer is the time for fresh fruits and veggies – and there’s nothing better for flavor and freshness than your local Farmers’ Market. If you need to be persuaded why, see our post on 7 Reasons You Should Shop Local Farmers Markets During Growing Season.

For years, nutritionists and global health authorities have been conducting a “Five a Day” campaign to highlight the health benefits of eating 5 servings of fruit and vegetables every day. But the most current thinking goes well beyond that: Forget five a day, eat 10 portions of fruit and veg to cut risk of early death.

But a word of caution as you load up your plates. It’s important to know how to wash, store and prepare your produce properly so you do not contract a food-borne illness. This post offers several resources for safe preparation and storage – as well as tips on how to store to get the best flavor and freshness.

Be safe: The US Food and drug Administration offer buying and storage tips in a brief video and in tips for selecting and serving produce safely

Refrigerator or counter? It’s easy to forge which fruits and vegetable should be refrigerated and which can be stored at room temperature but it makes a big difference to taste. Here’s a handy chart on fresh fruit & vegetable storage for better taste.

Storage tips: For more detailed tips on storage – such as what part of your refrigerator to store produce in or what containers to use at room temperature, this guide from Food52 offers some great tips: How to Store Your Produce So It Lasts Longer.

Go green: Washington’s Green Grocer offers tips for keeping fruits and vegetables their freshest using all natural and recyclable materials: How to store vegetables without plastic.

Are you doing it wrong? Are you storing your fresh fruits & veggie in the same refrigerator drawer or bowl on the counter? Wrong! Are you refrigerating your potatoes? Wrong! Learn about 10 fruits and vegetables that many people are storing wrong and 7 myths about washing your produce

Local vs. Organic: Consumers often confuse the two but there are specific meanings to the terms. Consumer Reports explains: Farmers Market Produce: Local vs. Organic.

Tips from the Farm: The site Farm Fresh to You offers a great guide to storing fruits and vegetables, along with great suggested recipes.

From USDA’s MyPlate: All about the fruit group and all about the vegetables group.

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