Grand Forks’ newest farmers market opensMandy Burbank is the force behind a new farmers market which opened Thursday at the Grand Forks County Office Building downtown. Instead of swinging through the fast-food joint for burgers or fried chicken, Burbank is encouraging people to stop at the farmers market and pick up fresh vegetables and fruits on their way home.
By: Pamela Knudson, Grand Forks Herald
Mandy Burbank is the force behind a new farmers market which opened Thursday at the Grand Forks County Office Building downtown.
She’s a dietician and wellness coordinator at Grand Forks Public Health Department.
Instead of swinging through the fast-food joint for burgers or fried chicken, Burbank is encouraging people to stop at the farmers market and pick up fresh vegetables and fruits on their way home.
And she’s planning to give them the tools — easy recipes — to make a quick and healthy meal when they get there.
As the mother of three young children and employed fulltime outside the home, Burbank knows firsthand the pressure of trying to figure out what’s for dinner at the end of a hectic workday.
“It’s always a challenge to provide really healthy food for your family,” she said. “There’s a time bind.”
Burbank has noticed that people dash out of work and, too often, end up resorting to fast-food “because it’s easy; it’s on the way home,” she said.
She planning to provide easy-to-follow recipes that combine fresh produce with staples that people would already have on hand, following the department’s motto, “Make the easy choice, the health choice.”
People who buy locally grown produce are getting “nutrient-dense foods that we know are better for us,” she said.
“And now is a great time to taste these things. With the quality of what we have here, the taste is uncompromised.”
Planning and preparing are also important keys to healthy eating, she said
“If I didn’t plan on the weekend what my family will eat the next week, I’d be much more likely to grab fast food or use convenience items that are high in fat and salt.”
The prevailing belief is that eating healthy is costlier than fast food, she said. “I hear that all the time.”
But a recent study by the federal Department of Agriculture shows fresh fruits and vegetables are comparable, or even less expensive, when portion sizes are taken into consideration, she said.
Other ways to trim costs are to use coupons and study grocery store ads for the best prices, she said.
In her work as a dietician she has noticed that many people simply are not knowledgeable about cooking.
“There’s a whole generation, between our grandparents and young adults, that doesn’t know how to cook,” said Burbank.
The growing popularity of televised food programming has raised consumer interest and awareness, especially among younger viewers.
Since the farmers market venture is new, Burbank is starting small, with four farmers, she said. It’s supported by a grant from the Dakota Medical Foundation.
Farmers can only sell produce — no eggs, meats or baked goods, she said.
She invites other farmers who want to participate to call her at (701) 787-8100, she said.
Grand Forks newest farmers market:
July 26 and Aug. 2 and 9 from 4 - 6 p.m.
Grand Forks County Office Building
Reach Knudson at (701) 780-1107; (800) 477-6572, ext. 107; or send e-mail to email@example.com.