Friday, February 11, 2011

coupons from packets of tea

How is it that I can buy beautiful unblemished organic vegetables at the farmers' market for less than I pay for the unceremoniously dumped cartoons of picked over produce at Safeway?

I find myself heading to the new farmers' market in the area more and more these days, and stopping by the supermarket less and less. Today I did the entirety of my grocery shopping at the Kingsland Farmers' Market and not only do I feel good about the organic antibiotic-free chicken breasts in the fridge and the lovely big bunch of fresh dill for which I paid $2.50 (compared to $4.50 for a tiny pack of dill at Safeway, packaged in 1983), but I feel even better about supporting local producers and small businesses.

I still carry the fondest memories of the old Covent Gardens market in London. The Offspring and I would often walk the half hour downtown to spend the afternoon amongst the vegetables and cheese shops. We would buy olives and feta from the grumpy old Greek guys who inexplicably wore green lab coats, but who seemed to like the Offspring because even as a toddler she loved olives. We would visit the ancient parrot at the pet store who once mistook my finger (which I stupidly stuck in the cage) for a peanut. He seem genuinely perplexed that he couldn't crack it open with his viselike jaws. We would sometimes treat ourselves to a frozen yogurt at the juice bar, and I would think nothing of letting the RO ride on as many of the little mechanical rides (including the replica of Guy Lombardo's speedboat) as her heart desired. They cost all of a dime and the ride lasted for at least ten minutes.

Farmers' markets are places that create memories while they fill your plate. Supermarkets rarely do. Safeway has taken enough of my money over the years without feeding my soul. I'm putting them on notice.

your favourite market memories?

11 comments:

S.M. Elliott said...

I don't get it either. Sobey's produce sometimes looks like it just had a run-in with an armed mob, yet we shell out premium price for it.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Isn't that the truth, SME? I've decided, unless absolutely necessary (or convenient), I'm not going to buy that subpar produce anymore.

leazwell said...

I like supporting local business too and why is organic food more expensive at the grocery? Theoretically they do less to it so the price hike befuddles me.

27thstreet said...

One summer I busked with my squeezebox in St. Lawrence Market and Kensington Market here in Toronto. One of the best things about it was being in one place watching market life happening all around me. In St. Lawrence I liked to get a fish sandwich or a schnitzel sandwich for lunch, and in Kensington, sometimes it was a Jamaican patty or an empanada or a sausage on a bun at European meats. And when my fingers started to swell from playing and I knew it was time to quit for the day, I could always buy a bag of fresh groceries for dinner.

Dale said...

I'm planning to say hi to your Covent Garden Market this May! Come on over and I'll protect you from the parrot!

Lucy DeCoded said...

My parents went the Minneapolis farmers market every Saturday morning when was growing up (and they still do) and sometimes they would take me with them. I feel very nostolgic about Peruvian pipe flute music and bratworst with onions and peppers because of those morning excursions. No markets in the winter though.

umbrellalady said...

We have a wonderful farmer's market at Clear Lake at "Sporty's" or the Sportsman's Park. Unfortunately, it is seasonal as well.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I imagine organic producers have more losses to pests, Leazwell, and don't have the economies of scale that large agriculture has, but that still doesn't explain why the local producers can offer their organic produce for less.

That actually sounds like a pretty heavenly way to spend the day, Mr Anchovy, and what lovely market memories you were left with. I did notice an accordion player busking at Kingsland market yesterday as I was leaving yesterday, but sadly, didn't have time to stop and listen.

It's a deal, Dale! They actually tore the old Covent Gardens down shortly after we moved, but I bet that insane parrot is still kicking around. Or are you going to the other Covent Gardens, in the other London? (I'll still join you...)

What a great memory of childhood, Lucy and a perfect way to spend a Saturday morning. You can't go wrong by starting the weekend with a bratwurst.

I have to check out the market next time I am in the area in the summer, Kathy. Not that we have a fridge at the cottage to keep any produce in, but there is the crawlspace.

Wandering Coyote said...

You are so lucky to have a farmer's market in the winter! That is just awesome!

I have always loved outdoor markets since I was a kid. We used to go to Ontario regularly since that was where my mom was from, and there was a huge outdoor market in Hamilton, and I'll never forget being like 5 years old and at a fresh fish stand where the fishies were still alive and leaping off the table of ice they were on. I though that was so cool, and I felt so worldly at 5 to have experienced that because there was nothing like it back home.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I would feel worldly experiencing that now, WC! That must have been so cool for five-year-old WC! What a great memory, makes me think of Pike's Market in Seattle.

phlegmfatale said...

Love love love Farmer's Markets. Such vibrant, lively energy, oui? I'm going to be canning oodles of the stuff this year. Dallas' FM is superb, and lots of great deals to be had.

Om nom nom.