Sunday, April 20, 2008

Local diet update: Sunday, April 20

Yesterday's farmers market was another good one (as you can see from the photo). No fruit for sale yet, unfortunately (it'll be Texas grapefruit from the grocery again this week), and I ran out of money before I could pick up a couple jars of jam, but I'll be more prepared next week!

The bounty: a grocery sack full of large leaf spinach, red plump tomatoes, a dozen eggs, 2 containers of sugar snap peas, oregano, sage, mint, parsley, and 2 teeny-tiny carrots.

The plan: some of the eggs will be eaten for "dinner" but I'm making two different flavors of Amish Friendship Bread for next weekend so I'll need 1/2 dozen eggs for the 4 loaves. The mint and sage are for a recipe I found for herbal tea. The parsley and oregano will be for any new soups I make this week (I see more tomato soup in my future). And the spinach and tomatoes (and onions leftover from last week) will make some great salads, that tomato soup, and I might just end up with a stir fry in there somewhere. The sugar snap peas won't stay around for long. I'd say that I have plans to steam or stir fry those, but I started snacking on them the minute I got home and they are SO delicious. They won't make it past a day or two. The carrots? Well, they are already gone. I was slow in getting to Lois' booth and by the time I got there, she was selling the last bunch of carrots (minus to two little ones I got and consumed immediately). Yum! The first carrots of the season didn't even make it to the fridge, but they were so crisp! Now, I know. Always see Lois first!

Lots of eggs out there today. The lady with the beautiful flowers came again this week and I was able to give her my used vases which she said she could certainly use. The couple with the salsa and bird feeders were back again. By the time I reached them, they had just run out of their homemade bread (it was english muffin bread this week). They had some little squares set aside for people to nibble on. Good stuff! The grass fed beef vendor was there (he also has honey). Heather P. was there with soaps and heirloom tomato plants (she said this is the last good week to plant). And then of course there was Lois with all her veggies, jams, jellies and other canned foods.

It was a beautiful morning to ride downtown, just a slight breeze, and I was able to pick up plenty to get through the week. What's great is we haven't come close to the high season and I'm already seeing a greater variety of veggies. It's going to be a wonderful summer!


the t-dawg said...

How are the prices at the local farmers' market as compared to a supermarket? Namely, the eggs and vegetables.

Heather said...

It all depends. Most things are about the same or actually cheaper. The only things I have run into that are more expensive would be canned items, honey, and right now, tomatoes.

Eggs - I'm actually only paying $2.50/doz for eggs. Some of the other vendors go up to $4.00. You can hardly get plain white eggs at the grocery for $2.50 anymore (free range eggs at the grocery are about $3.75/doz and they aren't nearly as fresh).

Veggies - That grocery store size bag of spinach was $3; the 2 containers of sugar snap peas was $5 total; my onions last week were $1; and the tomatoes which are expensive right now, were $10 (but I don't know how many pounds I got. I ended up with about a dozen good size tomatoes.

I've actually been surprised because the assumption is that the farmers market is more expensive. For the most part, I've found this is not the case.

Other things to keep in mind when weighing price at the farmers market is:

1) you get food that has been picked within a day or two which means it has been picked at the peak of freshness giving you a higher nutrient value (unless you let it sit for a couple weeks before you eat it) and far better taste; and

2) food which has been grown organically (which is most often true at the farmers market - when in doubt ask) has been shown to have a higher nutrient value (you would have to eat more apples grown in an industry setting than you would in an organic setting to get the same nutrients (see: