I go to the McMinnville Saturday Market every weekend to buy my produce for the week. There are two produce vendors there: Growing Wild Farm and Denison Farms. Growing Wild sells out early so I often don’t get much from them. I have a horrible tendency to sleep in on Saturdays. Between the two farms (both certified organic) I manage to buy about 90% of the produce I use each week. When I talk to people about eating locally and seasonally people ask about both the expense of it and the difficulty of cooking with so few ingredients. Few ingredients?! Check out what I find just at Denison Farms alone!
This week I spent $43 dollars and this is what I got: 4 enormous sweet potatoes, 2 giant leeks, 2 heads of cauliflower, big bag of potatoes, 2 bags of prewashed lettuce mix, 1 bunch cilantro, 4 heads of garlic, 2 bunches of collards, 1 bunch of celery, and 2 yellow onions. That will get us through a week of excellent vegetable eating. When I got home I made potato leek soup and a pan of roasted sweet potatoes, fennel (from last week’s purchase), garlic, tofu, and potatoes. That was dinner and it was amazing!
How I shop: most people I know decide what food they’re going to make and then go to the store to buy the things they need. When you shop farmer’s markets you need to do the opposite; go to the market to see what’s available that looks good to you and then figure out what you will do with it. You don’t need to know the exact amounts needed for recipes ahead of time. Generally speaking you won’t need more than one head of cauliflower per cauliflower recipe. One bunch of collards is generally enough for anything it’s going into.
If you’re not used to shopping this way it may take a little getting used to, but I’m the queen of anxiety (I have trouble with changes in routine and I get very set in my way of doing things) and even I hardly needed to adjust to this. It’s actually a much more pleasant way of shopping and planning meals. It’s also the way people have been doing it for thousands of years up until after World War ll. You cooked what what was available and in season or in your pantry – no one decided ahead of time what they would be cooking because they didn’t have access to whatever they wanted all year long in a store. Food stores were a lot less stable.
Please consider getting one of these gorgeous cutting boards from Growing Wild Farm! I have two of them and they are well made by farmer Andre from white oak fallen on his own property as well as walnut and other woods from his friends. The rustic board in this picture is new and Andre says it’s not suitable as a cutting board but is meant to be a serving board for things like cheeses. I covet it!
There are a lot of other things at our Saturday Market: duck eggs, chicken eggs, meat, teas, spices, some packaged spreads, honey, bread and pastries, sometimes wild mushroom vendors, chocolates, hand made soaps, used books, art, crafts, vintage clothes, jewelry, knitted goods, sometimes flowers and hand carved spoons. It’s becoming better and better all the time and I want my community to support it more strongly. It’s such a pleasant way to do some of your food shopping every week. It goes all year round and has made my town so much better.
If you have a similar market, especially one that goes all year round, be sure to support it. Even if you can’t afford to buy all your produce, meat, and eggs from local sources, set aside a small portion of your budget to spend on at the local market. Every dollar you spend locally makes your community economy stronger, your local food security stronger, and you are directly supporting your neighbors.
Most of my readers here at Stitch and Boots already support their local food producers as much as they can. I am writing these things because if there’s even one person who comes along who doesn’t already shop their local farmer’s market that can be inspired to? WIN. Coming up soon – I’ve got a couple of recipes and will start costing out some of them to show what the food I eat actually costs.
Have a lovely weekend!