Look around
Before buying anything, take a quick loop around the grounds. Look for overall cleanliness of vendor stands, uncovered food samples, hovering insects and soiled display areas.

Examine produce
Do not buy bruised or damaged produce because it is prone to bacterial contamination. The exception is “misshapen” produce, which is not damaged but is unusually shaped.

Ask questions
Speak with the vendor/farmer about how the food was grown; check for license and registrations. “Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and if you’re not comfortable with the answers, politely move on to the next vendor,” said McDonald.

Raw meat
If you plan to buy raw meats or other perishable items, make sure you have a cooler loaded with ice. Separate raw meats from other foods to avoid cross-contamination.

Ready-made foods
Pay attention to ready-to-eat foods such as sandwiches, cut fruits and samples. Cold foods should be cold, and hot foods should be hot. Make sure food handlers have a barrier between their hands and the food during handling.

Unpasteurized milk
While many markets offer unpasteurized dairy products — such as raw milk and cheeses — and unpasteurized juices, McDonald advises against consuming these products.

Store food
After bringing your purchases home, store foods either in the refrigerator or on the counter, depending on the item. Some fruits and vegetables, such as nectarines, peaches and tomatoes, can be stored on the counter until ripe and then refrigerated. Refrigerate eggs, dairy products and meats, posthaste.

Before you eat
Make sure to wash produce right before using it, and cook foods to the proper internal temperature, especially meats. Egg dishes and ground meats must be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit; poultry and fowl to 165 F; and steaks, chops and roasts to 145 F.

For more information for consumers on proper food handling and storage and safe cooking temperatures is available at extension.psu.edu/food-safety-and-processing.

(Farm and Dairy is featuring a series of “101” columns throughout the year to help young and beginning farmers master farm living. From finances to management to machinery repair and animal care, farmers do it all.)


As a member of Farm Bureau, I am glad that this organization takes action when necessary to protect and advance agriculture.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

Policy Development
If you have issues with local planning or have legal questions, someone at the Farm Bureau has the answer for you, or they’ll connect you with someone who does.
Gayle Hansen's avatar
Gayle Hansen

Cuyahoga County Farm Bureau

Hansen's Greenhouse
Farm Bureau is an incredible organization that has given me countless professional development opportunities in addition to advocating for all sizes and types of farmers.
Shana Angel's avatar
Shana Angel

Tuscarawas County Farm Bureau

We go to a lot of Farm Bureau events, and there’s a lot of camaraderie built because you’re meeting with people who have similar interests and goals.
Andy Hollenback's avatar
Andy Hollenback

Licking County Farm Bureau

Event Calendar
Through its policies it brings together people in the agricultural community and invests in building vibrant communities that support agriculture.
Eric Bernstein 's avatar
Eric Bernstein

Wyandot County Farm Bureau

Future employees, leaders
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington, D.C.
Austin Heil's avatar
Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
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