July 18, 2009 1 Comment
The Farmer’s Market in my town is only on Saturday mornings from 8am – 1pm. Because of my relationship with Cpt. Baseball, I’m usually in HIS town on Saturday’s, so I rarely get to go to the Farmer’s Market. The last time I went was probably two months ago. It was mainly just vegetable plants for sale because none of the produce was ready to harvest yet.
Oh, one thing I should mention is that to sell at the Farmer’s Market in my town everything you sale has to be grown IN MY COUNTY. So, the carbon footprint of purchases made at the Farmer’s Market is really low – and I like that.
Wait… wait… wait… let me back up. =)
Back up #1: In San Diego was had a Farmer’s Market every wednesday on campus. As well, this Farmer’s Market was daily – it just moved locations around town. Which was nice, cause you could always get fresh produce. The problem that I had with it was 2-fold. Fold #1: Because we were in San Diego, the prices were OUTRAGEOUS. More expensive than even the organic foods in the Whole Foods – which is saying something. Fold #2: The food usually went bad after 2 days. Because the food was outside in the sun, everyday after it was picked it usually had a VERY short shelf life. For the fruit, I found I had to eat it that day or it would go rotten – the vegetables had a moderately longer shelf life but not by much.
Back up #2: Last night I went to the grocery store. I looked at the zucchini and yellow squash is disgust. They were small, gross, relatively expensive for the season. YUCK. I still bought one of each, just because I went shopping while hungry and had my heart set on getting squash for dinner.
Anyway – so I’m at the Farmer’s Market this morning and the produce is INCREDIBLE. There are beautiful yellow squash, huge zucchini, delicious looking eggplant, and OMG delicious corn. ALL for less than the grocery store and ALL better quality. So I hooked myself up with some interesting looking mushrooms (they were expensive ($3/lb), but apparently they’re delicious, I’ll try them later tonight for dinner), a pound of Anaheim Peppers ($1.25), three huge, oriental eggplants ($1 for 3), a sack of cherry tomatoes (only one guy at the whole Farmer’s Market grows ones that I like, and since I don’t eat hardly any tomatoes because I generally don’t like them I feel okay buying his since I’ll eat them, $2.50/bushel). I didn’t buy any zucchini or squash because I had gotten some at the grocery store last night, but they were selling for 50cents each or 3/$1.
There were also beautiful flowers that I had to resist the urge to buy. They were gorgeous, but such a “frivolous” purchase since they’ll die anyway. I may reconsider in the future, but today I just couldn’t justify it to myself.
So here is what I learned at the Farmer’s Market today:
1) Farmer’s Market produce > grocery store produce in quality
2) Farmer’s Market produce < grocery store produce in price
3) I love going to the Farmer’s Market
4) Walk around the entire Farmer’s Market before buying anything – the prices are VERY variable =)
I can very easily see how I will be able to stick to my $200 food budget next month if I were to go to the Farmer’s Market every week. Apparently (according to the local website) they’ve started a Tuesday evening market, I’ll have to check that out this week. If I can do that I can get fresh, locally grown produce without having to change my schedule with Cpt. Baseball. If not, I may have to consider twice a month staying here on Friday nights, going to the Farmer’s Market in the morning on Saturday and then going up to see him in the afternoon. It may be worth it for fresh produce for a week.
My next challenge: Figuring out how much product one person NEEDS for a week. You’d think after 10 years of living on my own I’ve have this figured out, but I don’t! I’ve never really cooked anything on a regular basis. Generally just buy what I need for one dish and then don’t cook again for another 6 weeks. But planning multiple days of cooking and leftovers and different dishes every day. This is a whole new ball game for me. I may have bought too many items at the Farmer’s Market today – or perhaps too little! I would imagine that $20 of fruits and vegetables should be enough for 1 person for a week – but then, I just don’t know! (And I also suppose that depends on how expensive the items you’re getting are)