We are a few weeks into our challenge to eat primarily from the farmers market and from our own garden. So far we have been pleasantly surprised by how well we can get by.
It’s early in the season so the only things we are getting from our own garden are herbs but that has already added so much more flavour to our meals.
Even though it is early in the season we have been able to get all of our bread, cheese, fish, eggs, chicken, vegetables and even some buckwheat pasta from our local farmers market. We have had to shop at our local grocery store and admittedly Costco for things like fruit (because nothing is in season except field strawberries and we have finally run out of our frozen blueberries from last year) nut & dried fruit mixes, oats, cold cereal, chocolate chips (we are crazy for them in our family) and milk. We have found we only really need to buy milk and fruit on a weekly basis though. Everything else is as needed which is not often.
My husband was game for the challenge although he was a bit worried about the time it was going to take us to go to the farmers market every single weekend. We have a busy life and he wanted to be sure this wasn’t going to be just another commitment we had to fit into our busy weekend schedule. Right away though he became a convert since the farmers market visit has replaced our regular Pricesmart shop, which he used to sneak in while my son napped. He used to go by himself and shop isle after isle, list in hand, efficiently collecting all the things I had written down for our weekly meal plan. It was a chore, done as quickly as possible, and not something to look forward to. Now, instead, we go as a family every Sunday morning and it is a relaxing enjoyable experience. We shop, we listen to music, we get treats and enjoy each others company.
Bill McKibben in his book titled “Deep Economy:The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future” mentions that at farmers markets you have 10 times more personal interactions than in a supermarket. I can say from experience this is true. We talk to our “egg guy” each week, pick a bread from the same bread merchant who suggests different loaves based on our preferences for that week, meet the coffee vendor couple who have a new baby daughter… It feels like we are part of a real community when we go “grocery shopping” each week now. We even sat for “story time” last weekend. All the children sat on a blanket on the grass next to the market while a local librarian read them stories and sang songs (to the children’s delight).
Not only are we getting the majority of our food locally which means it is fresh and mind blowingly delicious, and our purchase helps out our local farmers, we really feel like members of our community every Sunday rather than merely homeowners in a municipality that just happens to be adjacent to where we work.
The only issue we have had so far is the quantity of fresh delicious vegetables. Seriously. I have started to panic at some meal times when I have to think of yet another way of making kale, beets, radishes, onions and potatoes into something! We’ve been doing pretty well, but it takes some thinking, time (there is a lot of washing and cutting involved) and some learning (we got a kohlrabi and didn’t know what it was!) to make a primarily vegetable based diet work. I have made salads, stirfrys (see below), pasta (see above), pizzas (see my last post), sandwiches, more salads, salads, salads…I don’t think any of us have had so much fibre in some time! I’ll need to pull up “vegetable based recipes” on Pinterest and get creative to ensure we can keep this up. Bean and vegetable stirfry