by Emily Thorson
Yes, yes, ideally we would buy all of our produce from farmers markets, and it would be local and fresh, and then we’d strap our reusable canvas bag to our unicorn and ride home on the city streets via the dedicated unicorn lane.
In reality, though, no way can I afford to buy all my produce at the farmers market, especially when I live right next door to the Italian Market, aka the fell-off-the-back-of-a-truck market, which offers such deals as $4 boxes of suspect Mexican mangoes.
Given my monetary constraints, my farmers market purchasing strategy is as follows:
- Buy only food I’m going to eat without cooking it first
- Buy only food that is very very much in season (because I live in a city and am not particularly in tune with the seasons, I usually just go by the shortcut of “what’s available at every single stall”)
- Buy one totally crazy thing that I’ve eaten rarely/never and have no idea what to do with (last week it was purslane. Delicious in a cucumber salad, it turns out!).
Applying this strategy means that I leave the farmers market with fruit, tomatoes, heads of lettuce, and sometimes carrots. I head elsewhere to purchase squash, peppers, beets, greens (kale/chard/etc), garlic, ginger, and potatoes.
The point of this post is to (a) provide one possible strategy for allocating your market budget (b) ask if I’m missing anything great. Does it turn out that zucchini is 100x more awesome when it’s not shipped from South America?