Your mother always told you to eat your veggies because they were good for you.

She was right.

Vegetables and fruit are healthy choices when deciding what you eat. They are packed with nutritious goodness and can help curb cravings.

And if produce is bought locally, it not only helps you live a healthier lifestyle, it also helps local farmers make a living.

To recognize the importance of produce, especially Pennsylvania-grown produce, the state House of Representatives passed House Resolution 930 designating August as "Produce Month."

This is the ninth year the state has made this designation.

"Agriculture remains one of our state's largest industries, pumping close to $155 million of revenue into our economy," said state Rep. Doyle Heffley, one of the co-sponsors of the resolution.

"Locally, we have an abundant supply of produce available at farmers markets, supermarkets and in many cases, roadside fruit stands.

"I encourage people across Carbon County to help local businesses and farms through the purchase of fruit and vegetables."

According to the Pennsylvania Vegetable Marketing and Research Program, Pennsylvania's 4,300 vegetable growers produce more than 300,000 tons of vegetables for fresh and processing use.

"August is the peak season for many Pennsylvania vegetable crops, and all but the early spring and late fall vegetable crops are available in August," the organization said in a recent press release.

Produce currently in abundance include sweet corn, potatoes, snap beans, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, cantaloupes, watermelon, zucchini and other squash, lima beans, lettuce, beets, carrots, onions, fresh herbs and more.

Area residents looking for produce have a number of options at farmers markets, roadside stands and local farms.

Richard Graver, owner of Graver's Orchards in Lehighton and a third generation farmer, said that buying locally has its advantages.

It's fresh

"The sweet corn you buy from local farms, we pull in the morning so you know it is fresh," he said.

It's good

Local farmers have had decades and some, like Graver, have generations of experience growing good crops to guarantee what you put on your dinner table is the best product they can deliver.

It's cheaper

Most of the time, locally grown produce will be cheaper than what is found in grocery stores because it didn't have to be trucked in from out of state.

It supports local

economy

"Buying local is a great thing because it helps the farmers make a living," Graver said.

To help find area farms, farmers' markets and stores selling local produce, the state has created www.paveggies.org and www.papreferred.com.