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Summer means fresh vegetables

Published: Monday, Aug. 11, 2014 5:30 a.m. CST

Kohlrabi, kale, onions, tomatoes, sweet corn and more have been on my mind while wondering farmers markets on these warm days of summer. This time of year makes for a happy vegetable lover; veggies are plentiful, the harvest tasty, and the price tends to be a bargain.

We know fueling our bodies with fresh fruits and vegetables is good for our health and packs a nutritious punch — helping us fight disease and stay well. Getting out in the fresh air and wandering the markets can be good for the soul too, so there you have it — a double bang for your buck.

Fresh food on a budget? This is the time of year to go searching the farmer’s markets, and if you are a caregiver of someone who is able to get out with your help, what a perfect afternoon or early evening outing. Treasures abound at these markets, the savvy shopper can find artisan breads and cheese, fresh-picked fruits and vegetables and even doggie treats for our canine friends.

A few fun markets to visit this summer are the Libertyville Farmer’s Market from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursdays in downtown Libertyville; the Grayslake Farmer’s Market from 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays; the Gurnee Farmer’s Market in Esper Peterson Park on Grand Avenue and Kilbourn from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays; and the Long Grove Farmer’s Market 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays.

After summer ends, what is in store for Lake County and fresh produce at a decent price? Top Box Foods Express is a nonprofit that is coming every second Saturday of the month beginning Sept. 13 at Calvary Presbyterian Church at 510 N. Cedar Lake Road in Round Lake. Hours will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and Top Box is open to everyone. The beauty of Top Box is people can get nutritious fruits and vegetables that are healthy and affordable. The organization accepts cash, credit, debit and SNAP/LINK cards so that healthy food selections are available to everyone — especially those living in areas with limited access to nutritious food choices — and this happens year round.

By decreasing the time you need to spend shopping, Top Box is a great idea for seniors or others who may find it difficult to get out and about for the amount of time it takes to shop. Shopping consumes time and energy, so why not check into the Top Box concept of online ordering and once-per-month pickup? Simply order your selections online at www.topboxfoods.com and then pick up your selected options on the delivery date. As a nonprofit organization, it appears to be a great resource for those who cannot get out of the house easily and are on a limited budget.

Enjoy the lazy days of summer and the fresh produce that is abundant at this time of year. Remember, when the harvest is over, there are wonderful organizations and people behind them that make nutritious choices available to everyone in Lake County throughout the year. Happy marketing!

Linda Chamberlain is the owner and director of Client Services Ensemble of Care Inc.

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