24.5.11

the farmer's market

I love farmer's markets. I first started going to markets when I lived in Bordeaux and it soon became one of my favorite things to do. The colorful feast of vegetables and fruits danced around in my head overwhelming me with endless possibilities for meals. I rarely ever followed a recipe, I just cooked what looked good.

Here, I go to the grocery store. And I can't really afford the nice grocery store so the one I go to I hate. But during the summer, I seek refuge in the fact that the farmer's markets and produce stands start popping up and maybe, just maybe, I won't have to go to the grocery store. I can afford the food there.

But this would never happen. Because the meals I had planned for the week always had one ingredient that I had to go to the grocery store for. So this year, I am trying something new - no planning. There are two farmer's markets here in Salisbury, one on Saturday morning and one on Tuesday afternoon. They aren't big markets - there isn't really a selection of meat or seafood but they always carry a great variety of fruits, vegetables and dairy. And since we get our meat in bulk and freeze it (and I don't mind running into the seafood market for fresh seafood) I figured I could quit the grocery store, at least for the summer, and just make a stop at these two markets and prepare my meals, not around a recipe, but around what looks fresh and good.

On weekends when I won't be home for the Saturday market, I can always run into the grocery store to keep us until the Tuesday market (and maybe pick up some staples that I may need as well.) I like the idea of going to the market twice a week. It is great to be eating fresher vegetables but there is also something therapeutic about it for me. The world stops for a second as I glide from stand to stand.

I recently found out that the Tuesday market is year round so maybe if this little experiment works, I can continue through the fall and winter.

Also, if I could enlist your help: If you know of any blogs, websites, or books that would help me in cooking through the farmer's market, let me know. Thanks for the help!

How do you shop for food? Do you plan your meals in advance or just buy what looks good?

{image from here}

8 comments:

  1. it's hard: if i go shopping without a recipe already in mind i never know what to do with the stuff that looks good. it always ends up in the fridge rotting. so i go with a clear idea in mind of what i want to make! (i love mark bittman's "how to cook everything vegetarian" for great veggie recipes!)

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  2. what a great idea :) that would be so hard for me to do where i live. i really wish there was more access to farmer's markets here. good luck!

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  3. I adore farmers markets..I've been getting my fruits and veggies delivered and it's been an amazing experience!! I hope you have a wonderful day!

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  4. Great plan! My Balazs is the one who mostly cooks in our home and he never plans meals ahead. He just goes to the market and gets fresh items for about 3 days and cooks something up. Jamie Oliver has planty recipes based on fresh foods and Smitten Kitchen has a great fresh food section. You should check it out. Happy Tuesday darling

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  5. Oh my gosh, I am a total drill sargeant when it comes to meal planning: I plan out a menu on the weekends for the week ahead. I even post a "menu" on the fridge. The thought of getting home from work with nothing to eat puts me into a panic. I'm not an overly organized or anal person about much of anything in my life, but for some reason, I'm a psycho meal planner. Probably b/c my mom was a meal planner/menu poster.

    I shop on Sundays, but often have to run to the store mid-week for fresh veggies that are in a Wednesday or Thursday dish. In the summer/fall, I base our meals on what's available at the farmer's market. I live near 2 that occur on Saturday or Sunday. You are lucky to have one to go to mid-week!

    Meals rarely contain meat - I don't eat much of it, relying mostly on legumes for protein (it was a slow, covert process to change my husband from a carnivore to a bean counter, but he's fine with it now) - so our grocery bill is usually under $75 a week, even with shopping at the farmers market.

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  6. this is a great plan; it is essentially what i do, except our "farmer's" market does not open until later in june.... totally lame.

    you should head up to providence, ri sometime with rich; adorable quaint town, perfect for a weekend get away, amazing local eateries, and a fabulous farmer's market.

    http://dallianceswithsuitsandskirts.blogspot.com/

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  7. we go to the grocery store every sunday but id like to start going to the farmers market every sunday to get our produce. usually the stuff will last for about a week. xoxo jillian:: cornflake dreams

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  8. I loooove farmer's markets, wish we went more often. I'm still trying to figure out how to balance menu planning and working, I love your plan! Great inspiration.

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