How to Handle City Market Bay City Produce
You all know well enough that raw meats have to be handled and cooked properly or they can risk giving you foodborne illness, such as salmonella. What you might not realize, however, is that proper care and handling of your fresh produce is just as important.
It’s All About Growth
Bay City’s own City Market features some of the best produce available from both inside and outside the Great Lakes Bay region. All that said, however, produce does grow out of the soil. The soil and water in which produce grows can contain a variety of bacteria. Foregoing the implications of pesticides and such (those are topics for another time) let’s concern ourselves today only with the soil and water.
In addition to outright harmful bacteria, the bacteria common in one part of our area can simply be different than those from another part. This is the same basic principle you hear when you talk about travel: “Don’t drink the water” doesn’t mean that the water in the destination area is contaminated per se; it simply means the water may contain bacteria your body isn’t resistant to or used to. This is why indigenous populations can drink the local water all day long without incident, while some travelers can become extremely ill.
Caring for Your Bay City Market Produce
So, how can you take extra care to make sure the fruits and veggies you’re buying won’t bring about tummy trouble? Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Pay Attention While You Shop
Buying local, of course, reduces some of your risk. But beyond that, you should choose produce that isn’t visibly bruised or damaged. If you’re buying pre-cut or packaged produce, make sure to choose only items that are refrigerated or on ice. Keep produce clearly separate from any meats you purchase to avoid cross-contamination.’
2. Properly Store Your Produce
Keep perishable fruits and veggies, such as lettuce, leafy greens, herbs, mushrooms and strawberries, at a cool 40° F or lower temperature. Sometimes a crisper tray will allow this kind of temperature control, but consider buying a refrigerator thermometer to verify. Refrigerate all packaged or pre-cut produce. If you’re not sure , talk to your City Market vendor.
3. Separate Bay City Market Produce for Safety
Keep any fruits and vegetables that will be eaten in their raw form separate from raw meat, poultry or seafood. In addition, don’t share cooking utensils (including cutting boards) between these kinds of products to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
Wash all of your cutting boards, utensils, dishes, and countertops thoroughly between preparing produce that will not be cooked and preparing raw meat, poultry or seafood. Ideally, you’ll use a separate cutting board for each type. If you’re using non-porous cutting boards, put them through the dishwasher between uses.
4. Safely Prepare your Bay City Market Produce
Always start preparation with clean hands. That means washing them for at least 20 seconds using soap and warm water both before and after prep. Wash all of your produce thoroughly as well. Generally speaking, you’ll want to avoid using soap, detergent or even commercial produce wash. Running water will suffice. Make sure to cut away damaged or bruised areas. Even if you’re not eating the skin, you’ll still want to wash the produce so dirt or bacteria don’t transfer while peeling or cutting.
It’s also important to dry your produce with a clean dry cloth tower or paper towel to remove any stubborn bacterial still remaining on the surface.
Maximize the Health Benefits of Buying Local Produce at City Market
By following these steps, you’ll greatly reduce the risk of foodborne illness when consuming produce, no matter whether you buy it from City Market on Center Avenue in Bay City, a nearby farmers market or even a big-box retailer.