While farmers markets throughout Alachua County area cancelling events, one open air market produce stand in Newberry is maintaining its hours and remaining open seven days a week.
Walker Lee, owner of The Produce Place, has no plans of changing is daily operating hours of 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
“It’s easier to get vegetables,” Lee said about a result of less farmers markets in the County. “Less people are buying, a lot of Farmers Markets have closed up.”
Walker has a degree in Horticulture from the University of Florida and has run a produce stand for 18 years. Lee buys locally whenever possible and sells a variety of fruits and vegetables plus local honey, fresh shrimp and boiled peanuts as well.
The CDC refers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration when it comes to advice on washing fresh fruits and vegetables.
“If possible, FDA says to choose produce that isn’t bruised or damaged, and make sure that pre-cut items—such as bags of lettuce or watermelon slices—are either refrigerated or on ice both in the store and at home. In addition, follow these recommendations:
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after preparing fresh produce.
- If damage or bruising occurs before eating or handling, cut away the damaged or bruised areas before preparing or eating.
- Rinse produce BEFORE you peel it, so dirt and bacteria aren’t transferred from the knife onto the fruit or vegetable.
- Gently rub produce while holding under plain running water. There’s no need to use soap or a produce wash.
- Use a clean vegetable brush to scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers.
- Dry produce with a clean cloth or paper towel to further reduce bacteria that may be present.
- Remove the outermost leaves of a head of lettuce or cabbage.”
Walker says he cleans his fruits and vegetables with a drop of Dawn dish soap and tap water and always uses fresh running water.
For more details on washing fruits and vegetables, go here.