For Immediate Release: June 24, 2008

Contacts: Shannon Campbell 202-328-7744 x235
Glen Weldon 202-328-7744 x221

Cancer Protection from the Farm Stand

Summertime Bounty Can Make Meals Less Expensive, More Healthy

WASHINGTON, DC -- This summer, with food prices rising, experts at the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) are encouraging Americans to bolster their anti-cancer arsenals any way they can. The experts advise saving money by making meals from scratch that feature the season’s bounty of cancer-protective produce.

It looks like Americans are already listening. Consumer surveys suggest shoppers are spurning more expensive, processed “convenience” foods and purchasing less expensive basic ingredients to make their own meals.

According to a recent Information Resources, Inc. report, 53 percent of American consumers say they are taking more time to cook meals from scratch than they did six months ago, and 55 percent say they are buying fewer prepared meals.

“It’s generally cheaper – and healthier – to make your own meals, and summertime’s a great time to get back into the habit,” said AICR Nutrition Adviser Karen Collins, MS, RD. “Meals tend to be lighter, easier, and take less time to prepare this time of year. And it’s easy to get inspired by the huge variety of fresh vegetables and fruits now available at local farm stands and farmers’ markets.”

Collins noted, however, that some surveys show sales of frozen and canned vegetables and fruits rising slightly. That’s good news too, she said.

“We say get them however you can – fresh from the farm, from the produce aisle, by the can or by the freezer bag – the important thing is to get them. Summer offers a great chance to sample freshly picked produce, but frozen and canned options – as long as you choose varieties without added salt or syrup – are good, healthy choices, as always.”

What to Look For at Farm Stands and Farmers Markets

If you do choose to visit a local farm stand or farmers market this season, take along these tips from AICR:

  • Beauty is Skin Deep

Don’t expect produce that looks like it should be in a grocery circular – perfectly shaped and shiny. Embrace the concept of farm stands – buying just-picked items often sold by the farmers themselves.

  • Mix It Up

By choosing produce at various stages of ripeness, you can enjoy your purchases over several days without spoilage.

  • Experiment

Take chances and buy produce you are not familiar with and enjoy seasonal items from local farms.

  • Talk

Get to know the vendors and ask for suggestions regarding selection, storing and preparation. You may become friendly with a vendor who can suggest dozens of ways to prepare nature’s best.

“This time of year offers us a chance to wean ourselves off of expensive, processed convenience foods and take charge of what we feed ourselves and our families,” said Collins.

AICR’s brochure series, Homemade for Health, is filled with quick, easy-to-prepare recipes and information that helps meal-makers maximize the health benefits in everything they prepare. The brochures in this series can be read online, downloaded, and ordered singly or in bulk by visiting the AICR Brochure page. Or call 1-800-843-8114 extension 469 between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm ET, Monday through Friday. Be sure to mention the double letter code when ordering.

Homemade for Health (HH), the original brochure in this series, includes:

  • Checklist for healthy foods and kitchen equipment
  • Cooking tips
  • 11 recipes for soups, main dishes and salads

Snacks – Homemade for Health (SA), which helps you make the switch to healthier between-meal treats without sacrificing flavor, includes:

  • How to read food labels
  • Healthy snack ideas
  • 15 recipes for dips, chips and other quick bites

Cooking Solo – Homemade for Health (SH), which helps those single – or single again – make quick, satisfying meals for one, includes:

  • Tips on smart grocery shopping and food storage
  • How to make solo dining more enjoyable
  • 13 quick, delicious recipes

Recipe Makeovers – Homemade for Health (RM), which shows how to revise favorite family recipes in healthy, cancer-protective ways, includes:

  • Tips on healthy substitution for a wide variety of dishes
  • How to make healthy changes, and why
  • 6 “Before and After” recipe makeovers


The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $96 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, AICR is part of the global network of charities that are dedicated to the prevention of cancer. The WCRF global network is led and unified by WCRF International, a membership association that operates as the umbrella organization for the network. The other charities in the WCRF network are World Cancer Research Fund in the UK (; Wereld Kanker Onderzoek Fonds in the Netherlands (; World Cancer Research Fund Hong Kong (; and Fonds Mondial de Recherche contre le Cancer in France (

All active news articles