Sometimes farmer’s markets can get a bad rap. I’ve heard people complain about how expensive organic produce can be. I remember taking a trip down to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco a year and a half ago on a Saturday afternoon.While on my way back onto the ferry, I was lured into a small farmers market just a short walk away from the dock. The fruit looked, for lack of a better descriptive phrase, damn good. I’m a sucker for any fruit that is bright in color. Peaches? I’m there. Apples? I’m there. Strawberries? I’m SO there. It was a hot day, I was slightly hungry and fruit sounded good. I don’t remember how much I paid exactly, but for a few pieces of fruit I think it was $7 or $8. My memory is foggy now that a year has passed. But I do remember how shocked I was.
After that experience I started frequenting the local farmers market back home with my mother every Saturday. That’s when I learned how to start shopping smart. I like to think that I’m a pretty good deal spotter now, but I’m probably not as skilled as my mom (How many of you can relate to having a deal spotting, sale finding momma? Haha). But in any case, I found that the produce at that farmer’s market was cheaper than one one in San Francisco. I suspect that since Fisherman’s Wharf gets a lot of foot traffic and is a tourist spot (and, I should mention there probably wasn’t fruit that fresh and delicious for miles), prices may have been rather high.
Once I started shopping and cooking on my own, I developed a taste for the produce that I liked to eat. Lucky for me, once I moved out and currently attend university, I found a farmers market not too far away from where I live with great deals. I’m talkin’, under $20 deals that will feed you for more than two weeks (well, I suspect it’ll last me that long, based upon past experiences). I’m no farmers market/organic produce aficionado, but I believe I’m quickly becoming one. I’m no cook either, but every time I buy something new, I learn new ways to prepare it.
Why I enjoy the markets so much
One reason why I love to buy organic produce at the farmers market is because I, like many people, don’t sit well knowing that most of the time non organic produce can contain chemicals that are bad for ones health later on down the road. Also, buying from farmer’s markets supports local farmers, of course.
Among other things? I love the energy that comes from them. I’m usually there early in the morning when the air is crisp (back in the Bay Area it was rather crisp and cold, haha). Everyone is in a spectacular mood, and evidently, buying spectacular produce. It’s also a cultural experience. Every market is different than the last, but at some there are musicians performing lovely
music and vendors selling more than just “produce”, i.e. flowers, organic eggs, bread, artwork, books, hand-made jewelry, for example. You can’t get that at a supermarket. Back home vendors also sold kettle corn and fantastic BBQ lunches right out of a lovely food truck. Local organizations also took the liberty to lobby for their causes, some community members sat at tables encouraging people to register to vote, and others came to help raise funds for community projects. It’s also spectacular way to build community and a way to meet other folks who love organic produce, too. Where ever a farmers market is, the stores and shops near by also get business too, a lovely bonus for small business owners. It’s also great talking to farmers who are very knowledgeable in the foods that they sell. I remember my mom choppin’ it up with the organic egg guy (have you ever tried salted egg with rice and diced tomatoes seasoned with salt and pepper? So good). I always enjoyed talking to the cabbage lady. She always told interesting stories about the night before when she prepared it for her own family and the way she cooked it, too.
For my mom, it’s a way for her to find organic Filipino vegetables and foods that can’t be found fresh (if at all) at local supermarkets. As for myself, I learn to try new fruits and vegetables—as the farmers will only provide what’s in season, naturally. Today I bought Chinese Broccoli, or Kai-Lan. Since I love leafy green vegetables like spinach and bok choy (which I also bought today), I want to give it a try. I’ll let you guys now how I prepare it and how it turns out!
What I bought today
The lovely assortment of colors makes me hungry just looking at it!
For $13: chinese broccoli, baby bok choy, romaine lettuce, cucumbers, nectarines, peaches, avocado.
1 single avocado for $1.50. Fairly priced, I think. This would be the first time I’ve ever bought one! The nice women who sold it to me recommended that I try it as follows: 1 toasted piece of bread of my choosing, spread on mayo to taste, add diced tomatoes, and 1 sliced avocado. I think I’ll try that! She also suggested I try it over my eggs.
1 head of baby bok choy for $2. I saw another farmer had it for $1.50 later on. I love to simmer them with sesame oil and chopped onions with salt, pepper, and onion powder.
Your average cucumbers. 2 for $1. My grandmother used to love to prepare this: Mix a little vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Slice the cucumbers (thin, but not too thin), let them soak for a few seconds. Then enjoy. Ahh, the memories.
Nectarines. 5 of these were $2.50. I used to call nectarines non-fuzzy peaches as a kid. Haha.
Ahh. Fuzzy Peaches. 5 of these for $2.50. I wish I remembered how easily bruised they can get.
Chinese Broccoli, $2. I’ve read simmering them in sesame oil and oyster sauce is the preferred way to enjoy them. I can’t wait to try it!
Romaine Lettuce. $1.50. I needed a break from spinach salad this week.
- Say that again!
But I want to know your farmer’s market experiences. What are some produce that grows naturally in your area? How do you cook it? What else goes on at your farmer’s market besides, well, produce selling?
Hey, all contents of this blog post are my original work. Thanks for not reproducing it without my permission.