7 Reasons to Shop at the Farmer’s Market

Approximately 70% of us live within 10 miles of a Farmers’ Market. In case you need a reason to shop there, here are 7 from The Zero Waste Chef. Happy reading & happy eating!

Zero-Waste Chef

2015-03-08 farmer's market

Find your local farmer’s market through Local Harvest.

I’m a huge proponent of shopping at the farmer’s market. Here’s why:

1. The FDA just approved GMO apples and potatoes

Silly Mother Nature. She designed apples that turn brown or bruise and potatoes that develop spots—food that rots. Thank goodness agribusiness has come to the rescue. (No hubris there…) After all, who has time to deal with apples that brown? As my local paper, the San Jose Mercury News explains:

“Okanagan, based in British Columbia, is trying to make apples a more convenient snack with its non-browning version. The company says bagged apples wouldn’t have to be washed in antioxidants like they are now, a process that can affect taste. […] ‘We know that in a convenience-driven world, a whole apple is too big of a commitment,’ Carter [Okanagan company founder] said.”

If you find a whole apple too big…

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Hello Swiss Chard and Kale!

Our CSA program began last Wednesday. I was the first person to arrive to pick up their basket. I know because I got there before the baskets. I don’t think I’ve been this excited about fresh produce since I was a small child waiting for my grandma to come back from the garden with a bucket of cucumbers. I was too excited even to take a picture of the beautiful basket we received for Week 1; a basket that contained strawberries, broccoli, kale, chard, onions, romaine lettuce, zucchini, and cucumbers.

Our Farmer’s Market is open now too. On Saturday we walked uptown with our cloth grocery bags to see what yummy goodness we could find among the vendors there. Our haul – more onions, a giant head of butter crunch lettuce, a dozen brown eggs, a loaf of fresh baked sourdough rye, carrots, and a few early tomatoes. We also bought a bottle of locally made lotion and a burn salve (that came in handy the very next day!). After our trip to the Farmer’s Market, we picked another 8 pounds of strawberries at our favorite U-pick farm.

On Sunday, we took a break from sourcing food and went for a 3 mile hike.

Now, I must confess – prior to this week, we’d never eaten chard or kale. Once upon a time, we might have tried to pass these new items off to someone else, eating only what we were familiar with, but not anymore. We’re committed to eating everything in the basket each week. If we don’t know how to prepare it, we’ll learn. There’s not a vegetable out there that doesn’t have a zillion recipes to it’s name, all easily accessed at the touch of a button.

Our menu since our CSA pickup has looked a bit like this:

Dinner: Broccoli Mac & Cheese

Angie makes Zucchini Boats
Angie preps the Zucchini Boats

Breakfast: Cereal, Fresh Strawberries
Lunch: Leftover Broccoli Mac & Cheese
Dinner: Stuffed Zucchini Boats with Kale & Salad (this recipe was adapted from one that came from our CSA)

Breakfast: Cereal, Fresh Strawberries
Lunch: Leftover Zucchini Boats
Dinner: Tomato Mac with Swiss Chard & Salad

Breakfast: Cereal, Fresh Strawberries
Lunch: Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwich (picnic at the berry patch)
Dinner: Leftover Tomato Mac with Swiss Chard, Salad & Sourdough Bread

Breakfast: Roasted Potato and Kale Frittata
Lunch: Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwich (picnic during our hike)
Dinner: Baked Potato with Broccoli, Salad, & Sourdough Bread

Tonight it’s Mom’s choice so we’re having spaghetti. I didn’t have fresh tomatoes but I did use the onions from our basket, peppers from our freezer, and organic diced tomatoes to make the sauce. Mom is trying her hand a making fresh bread to go along with it.

Of all the things we’ve tried so far, Angie likes the zucchini boats best. I like the frittata. We both like the fact that we’re eating fresh local foods (and that our grocery store purchase for the week was only $16, which was mostly for pantry items, milk and cheese).

In other news…our garden is growing like crazy! We have 5 zucchini that will be ready within the week, along with some carrots, and the potatoes my mom planted from cutting a grocery store spud are starting to grow. We’ll be out working in the garden this afternoon and will post pictures to our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/minimalistnextdoor/