We had another successful trip to the farmers’ market this Saturday after several weeks without a visit. The season has led to a few missing fruits and veggies as well as the introduction of autumn crops. Our vegetable vendor has a lot of greens this week, hopefully alleviating our lettuce troubles at the local grocery store, as well as organic carrots, squash, and potatoes. The shift in offerings completes a change in the weather and color as fall settles in the gulf, and we’re excited to see what we can do in our meals with new options.
We try to purchase at least one pound of locally sourced meat with each visit to supplement our store purchases. We haven’t yet justified the cost of purchasing all of our meats straight from the market, so we are incorporating these local options more as we can. This week we bought beef to make meatloaf, one of our favorite meals.
I was stoked to see all the vegetables that were available. I had been frustrated this summer that our store didn’t carry whole carrots, only baby carrots in sacks. I’ve tried to keep from buying any vegetables in sacks for the past few months because I find the quality isn’t as good and they don’t last as long. I’m also slightly suspicious of anything that comes pre-washed and “ready to eat.” It was still stored in plastic and is usually slimy if not partially browned or,in the case of lettuce, wilted. Last week we found whole, organic carrots at the store and I smacked on them all week–so I was excited to see whole, organic carrots at the market as well!
We also got a cucumber so I could make my own pickles by my grandmother’s simple but tried and true recipe. Because my partner doesn’t like vinegar flavors and cucumbers, I eat all of the pickles in our house. I have found that it is way cheaper and healthier to make my own along with the bonus that I can make them to my preferences.
We bought three squash for side dishes as well. Lastly,we spotted organic spinach. It was bagged for easier transport but was not sealed, so we knew it was from the vendor’s supply. Each bag was full of spinach, and we ended up with much more than we need. But we would rather accept the challenge to use it all than have no fresh spinach.
We also bought homemade tomato pasta. We’ve tried this vendor’s spinach pasta before. It was a little of a different texture, but honestly I think that’s because it has only a handful of ingredients. It cooks faster, too, which is nice.
Lastly, we got us another bottle of non-alcoholic ginger beer that is super tasty added to Sprite, and I couldn’t pass up a jar of spicy pickled okra. It’s a special treat for me, perfect for Thanksgiving dinner coming up next month, and gives me another jar to reuse. All of those are great reasons to go for a market buy, and it is important to remember to get yourself a treat every now and again because constantly restricting your diet can make the process feel a little dull. And as always, we got us another dozen eggs.
We walked away with so many good items for our meals and snacks, and it makes us even more excited to make fresh, homemade meals during the coming week. We still struggle with will power with eating at time, especially cooking instead of eating out when we’re tired, but we’ve noticed a change in our energy and health after incorporating fresher ingredients like organic vegetables and homemade options. We are trying to slowly adapt our eating habits to focus on foods that are controlled such as making our own side dishes and supplementing homemade items in lieu of bagged options (carrots and dip instead of chips), but this can be difficult sometimes. So it’s a process.
What are some of your favorite farmers’ market finds? Is there something in season this fall that has you excited to cook?