Going to a Farmers Market gives me such a high; I know I'm weird, but I'm just being honest. I absolutely love doing fresh, seasonal shopping outside with my monogrammed shopping bag hanging on my arm (if I remember to bring it that is). The last Saturday I went was no exception to my past previous experiences; it really just keeps getting better every time I go. I am learning the secrets to shopping with the farmers.
You didn't know there were secrets? Well there are, and knowing these key secrets will help you and give you confidence to conquer the sometimes intimidating Farmers Market, which has many benefits.
1. If you are in the market for something in particular get there when it opens; sometimes even after the first hour they have already run out. For instance, one time I was dying for some fresh from the farm eggs. To be able to open the carton and stare at their beauty, knowing they were laid just two days earlier can be a euphoric experience (again I know I'm weird). To my uttermost dismay they were gone by 9:00 AM that morning! Now for those of you that are not early risers, especially on a Saturday, I totally understand, but it's worth it! I''m telling ya....
2. Always bring cash. I'm really not for sure if they take checks, some of the farmers may. But I do know they almost always round down to the nearest even cent when you check out, which I so appreciate! For "the pennyless cook" every penny counts as you know.
3. Make friends with your local farmers there. They are some pretty interesting characters who are full of knowledge when it comes to their local fare. They can tell you how to cook certain items that may be unfamiliar or how to grow certain plants, or how to keep them alive in my case. You can even get some of their personal cell phone numbers. Why you may ask? No, not to hang out with later, but to ask them if they would mind to set aside certain items for you that day before they sell out. My son also shot one of the farmers a smile and he let him take home a small yellow pumpkin, on the house (or farm I should say)!
4. Every weekend Farmers Markets are happening usually till close to December. Perfect time to buy for Thanksgiving dinners.
5. My recent addictions that I suggest you look into getting this season are local eggs, honey, goat cheese, potatoes, green beans, herb plants, squash and apples. There are also usually a variety of meats, which do not compare to those you find at the super market.
Buying local at a Farmers Market is much cheaper than buying local in the supermarket. Every dollar goes straight from you to farmer so there is no middleman, and the food goes straight from the farmer to you, so there's no big company manufacturing or messing with how the food is made to actually grow. Everything you buy is how God intended it. Eggs are straight from the chicken instead of assembly line regulated and then being placed on the shelf already 2-3 months old! That's why you can keep farm fresh eggs in your refrigerator for up to 3 months!
I hope if you haven't already become a Farmers Market shopper you'll try and tell me about your experience. Once you've had a an apple, this Autumn, straight from the farm instead of the supermarket you will never be able to go back to eating those from the grocery store.
Share with me any "pennyless" recipes that you've made with your Farmers Market finds. Here's a recipe of mine.
Everything But the Kitchen Sink Vegetable Soup
Makes 8-10 servings @ about $0.85 a serving
1 14 oz can of tomato juice
8 small potatoes
2 cups green beans
1 cup of corn
1 cup of peas
1 cup of carrot, chopped
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 tbsp garlic
fresh herbs (I used 1 tsp thyme & 1 tsp sage, finely chopped)
handful of fresh parsely, chopped
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tbsp of butter
2 cups of water
Pinch of salt & pepper
Place a large stew or pasta pot on medium heat. Add oil carrot, onion, celery, and garlic. Sautee till tender. Add herbs, salt & pepper and 1 tablespoon of butter. Stir till butter is melted. Mix well; this will make your kitchen smell, O so good! Add tomato juice and rest of vegetables with remaining tablespoon of butter. Stir well, and add water. Bring to a rolling boil, cover and then let simmer for at least 30 minutes, the longer the better of course. I start mine around lunch time and let simmer until dinner, stirring ever so ofter. You could also place soup in a crock pot on low for several hours.