One of the big ideas for both Zero Waste living and Real Food living is the idea of eating locally grown and in-season produce. In this day and age, that translates to going to a Farmer’s Market. They typically have decent prices, GREAT produce, and they really only sell what’s in season! The downside is that unless it’s a big market, they probably won’t have everything on your list, even if you only have a list of in-season produce. You may have to shop around for the farmer’s market that’s right for you. Also, if you live in the country, or places where it snows, note that many farmer’s markets close up for the winter!
My parents used to take me to one every week when I was a kid. They’d pick up fruit, mostly, and they’d always let me get a little bag of fresh-popped popcorn, and a churro for my brother. But then I grew up and stopped going. We’d still walk the street fair on Tuesdays, through the farmer’s market portion, and then cruise to the food carts and get some fresh tacos or tamales.
When Sean and I decided to try this new lifestyle, one of the first things we looked up was farmer’s markets in our area. The one I went to as a kid had some stuff, but it wasn’t really what I was looking for (and is just a little too far away from me unless I’m already at my parents’ house that day). The first one I tried was an all-organic one that is also by my parents’ house, but on Friday instead of Tuesday. That one is SO small I only found 1 of the things on my list that week.
Then we tried one in the next town over (5-minute drive, closer than the grocery store). One of the vendors had delicious, ginormous apples for cheaper than the store-bought stuff. Another had farm fresh eggs from his dad’s farm. Last week we made the (poor) decision not to go to the farmer’s market, mainly because we didn’t need eggs yet, and we didn’t want to go there just for the apple. We decided to just buy the store brand and see how they were. BAD DECISION! They were mushy, gross, sad-looking little things with no real flavor to them. Today I went back to the farmer’s market for eggs and apples. It’s also very small, but for now it’s worth it, even for just those two things.
I will be trying out another farmer’s market this Thursday (it’s on my way to work, which is nice). We’re hoping because of the location that it will be at least 2-3 times as big as these other ones (both only have about 5-6 vendors).
My tip for you this time is to start looking around. Find out what’s in season this month in your area, and if there’s a local farmer’s market that you like. Don’t be scared to talk to the farmers and get to know them! I’ve heard a lot of people say that when they make friends with the farmers, they often get discounts or free produce. Also, the best times to go to market are at opening and closing. At the opening, there is often more available, and better quality to chose from. At closing, there is less, but often a farmer will sell it at a discounted rate rather than pack it up and take it back home.
Now on to the Strawberry-Banana Smoothie I made this morning. Mmm! Tastes a lot like strawberry milk with a hint of banana! It is super filling. Perfect for breakfast or dessert!
4-5 Large Frozen Strawberries
1 Banana, chopped up
About 1/4 Cup of milk (don’t be afraid to add more if needed)
1 Splash of Vanilla Extract
Directions: Put all ingredients in blender, in this order. Pulse or blend until smooth. If needed, add more milk to get the strawberries to break up.
If you want enough for two people, just add a couple more strawberries and another splash of milk.