The Healthiest Farmers Market Food Picks

Tips from on choosing the right fruits and vegetables at your local farmers market.

When choosing fruits and veggies, small differences can make a real impact on the health benefits you get. Here’s what to look for at the farmers market, from food expert Jo Robinson, author of the new book Eating on the Wild Side.



“Queen Anne and Rainier cherries look exactly alike: yellow with a red blush,” Robinson says. “But I go for the Queen Anne because they contain far more cholesterol-lowering flavonoids.”

Eat them within a day or two—cherries can lose their ability to reduce cholesterol just a few days after picking. Bright green, flexible stems signal freshness.



If you find purple asparagus, buy it. It contains all the disease-busting compounds found in the green kind, plus certain anthocyanins that are potent cancer fighters.

Regardless of color, eyeball the shape: “Asparagus stalks tend to go crooked when they’re old—an indication that they’ve lost a lot of their nutrients,” Robinson says.


Bell peppers

Surprise—green peppers have as many antioxidants as the other varieties.

“If I’m planning to roast them to bring out their sweetness, I don’t spend extra on red or yellow,” Robinson says. “I put that savings toward buying organic peppers, since conventionally grown ones usually have a high level of pesticide residue.”