Saturday, July 7, 2012

Market Day Report 1

Well, it was an interesting day of shopping. We went to the Franklin Farmer's Market, the Fresh Market, and Green Door Gourmet. Here's a synopsis of our wins and losses, wins.
Franklin Farmer's Market
Wins - sweet potatoes, 8 ball zucchini, salt and pepper squash, and 2 kinds of ravioli. (*The ravioli is not 100% local, but the farmer uses as much local as possible. We also liked that we were buying directly from the farmer so more of the money hopefully went to the farmer. I also got a jar of sorghum. Total spent - $21.00

The Fresh Market
We had been told this would be our place for fresh, local fish. We had planned to go there b/w our markets to pick up some fish. B is really wanting some fish and I was really looking forward to finding a treasure. Unfortunately, they only had 2 fish from the US and none were from Tennessee. I don't want to say the guy laughed at us for asking about fish from Tennessee, but he wasn't as insightful or helpful as we would have hoped. Total spent - $0

Green Door Gourmet
Treasures, treasures, and more treasures today! We racked up at our favorite market today. We didn't need any meat this week b/c we are using some we already had frozen, which left us a bigger budget for vegetables and some pantry staples we were getting desperately low on this week.
Wins: (FRUIT!) - cooking apples, grapes, nectarines, peaches, and 3 kinds of melon. We passed on a watermelon and got a regular cantaloupe and a canary melon.
Treats: We were in the first 50 to place our order so we got a free loaf of bread. Yum! We also got a choice of about 6 different herbs. We chose mint (ice cream anyone??) and since they were a little low we lucked out and got a half portion of 2 different kinds. Lemon and chocolate! I cannot tell you how yummy they smell. Delicious!
Vegetables: We stocked up this week! Okra, green beans, tomatoes (fruit/veg?), 3 kinds of squash, eggplant, Japanese eggplant, 2 kinds of zucchini, 3 kinds of potatoes (hallelujah!), 2 or 3 different peppers, and corn. I also got more kale.
Pantry - We got some whole wheat flour from Knoxville. It's a little pricy so not sure that we'll always buy it, but we had to have flour for this week. We kinda delayed the big wheat decision. We also got a jar of really nice olive oil. It looks kinda funny next to the jug in the cabinet that I got from Publix as 1 of my first couponing successes. Needless to say, the new oil will be an upgrade for us and we are curious to start cooking with it. Total spent $77.00

On the hunt/didn't find today:
Only a couple things we didn't see that we were hoping to find.
Nuts - didn't see a single one at either market. I saw some desserts with nuts that I inquired about but none were made from TN nuts. Still hunting.
Raisins - didn't find a single raisin. However, Green Door had grapes, so we got an extra bunch. We have 1 big bunch to enjoy as grapes and another that I can use to dry out and make raisins. More on raisin making later hopefully!
Fish - obviously that was a bummer, but with so many successes and treasures found today, it's hard to feel sad about not finding any one thing. I think the hunt and effort will help us to savor the fish that much more if/when we find it. At the very least, we'll appreciate it and the fisherman that much more than we ever have before.
 Grapeseed or other oil for cooking - Michael at Green Door suggests cutting the olive oil that we got  with another oil for sauteing, so we're on the lookout now for one that he mentioned. We saw some at Produce Place, but neither of us remembers how much it was or if it was local. So we'll check next time we're there. May or may not be a difficult thing to find - I guess time will tell.

So that's the summary of our adventures in local shopping. Definitely more complicated than a quick jaunt to the grocery down the street, but infinitely more fun, interesting, and informative. Today, especially at the Farmer's Market, I had the deep sense that the food was too cheap. I know a lot of it was more than it would have been at a commercial grocery, but this is organic food, grown by hand, under the best of conditions. In addition, when possible we bought heirloom or heritage varieties of produce that you can't even get at a commercial grocery. Paying seventy-five cents for 2 squash seems a little short of the worth of the food. I'm glad we were able to get as much as we did for right at 100 dollars, but it does cause me to wonder if it was priced as fairly as it should have been. Another unexpected part of this change is the overwhelming sense of appreciation for everything now sitting in my kitchen. I am thankful for all the farmers that take the time and energy to not just grow the food, but to also haul it all down to the market so I can purchase it more easily. I feel blessed and grateful on a whole new and deeper level with every trip to market.

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