Farmers' markets (FM) provide an opportunity for consumers to support local producers and promote fruit and vegetable (FV) intake. Plate It Up! Kentucky Proud (PIUKP) develops healthy recipes incorporating locally-produced specialty crops and educational resources that are then delivered by Extension professionals. In collaboration with local producers, Extension professionals often set up at the FM to provide PIUKP resources and recipe samples. As part of the PIUKP project, evaluation data is collected annually at FM throughout the state.
To evaluate the relationship between self-reported FV intake and dermal carotenoid scores in adult FM patrons and to assess the impact of PIUKP recipe sampling at the FM on intent to purchase and prepare locally-produced FV.
Study Design, Setting, Participants
Over a period of 3 summers, adult patrons (n = 751) at diverse FM's throughout the state were invited to sample a seasonally-appropriate PIUKP recipe and complete a short survey with questions about their typical FV intake, sampling experience, and FM purchasing habits. Dermal carotenoid levels were also evaluated in years 2 and 3 (n = 525) through reflection spectroscopy using the Veggie Meter.
Descriptive statistics are provided. Correlation analyses were used to evaluate the relationship between self-reported FV intake and dermal carotenoid scores.
The study participants reported consuming an average of 2.22 ± 1.18 servings of fruits and 2.91 ± 1.48 servings of vegetables daily. Mean dermal carotenoid scores were 200.3 ± 87.6; a weak (r = 0.32) positive correlation was found between self-reported FV intake and dermal carotenoid scores. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being “Contributes a Lot,” participants indicated both recipe sampling (7.83 ± 2.23) and recipe cards (7.76 ± 2.34) contributed to their making a recipe using FV purchased at the FM. The majority (77.6%) of participants indicated they were very likely to purchase the FV highlighted in the sampled recipe.
Self-reported FV intake was weakly correlated with dermal carotenoid scores, indicating further research is needed to evaluate the use of reflection spectroscopy as a marker of FV intake. As well, providing samples of healthy recipes and recipe cards incorporating FV being sold at the FM contributed to the likelihood of purchase and later preparation of the recipe.