Farmer Markets Are The Best And I Love Them (part two)
This is part two, so if you haven't read part one GO DO THAT FIRST because there will be at least one #callback and you'll feel terribly out of the loop.
I often find myself unwilling to cook for myself at home after a week of cooking for other people at work. But the markets are a place where I can connect with the things I love and find inspiration. When I'm excited about the ingredients I'm using it makes me WAY more likely to cook myself dinner so going to the markets is a big part of keeping my body and brain healthy and happy, or at the very least, less trash and mildly satisfied.
For your first market experience I recommend a thorough reconnoissance before you buy anything. Walk up and down and check out what's cheap, what's plentiful and what's freshest. It's never a good time to jump in too soon and grab your asparagus at $5 a bunch, only to discover it's selling at $4 down the other end. I like to multitask by grabbing my coffee straight away and checking out the stalls while I decide what to eat for breakfast aka the most important meal of the day.
Market buddies are not strictly 'essential' but its nice to use a market trip to catch up with friends. This helps to create that sense of community we discussed in part one #callback. Shopping with a friend is also a good way for tiny households like mine to get excellent deals on bulk purchases without ending up with an excess of one vegetable. Food wastage is of course an issue we're concerned about #callback AND your buddy can help to carry your bags. Win-Bloody-Win.
Die-hard market lovers might tell you to wake up at the crack of dawn to get the best stuff. I say: if you want to sleep in then sleep in. Sure, there's a chance you might miss out on a few things but there's also great bargains to be had when the stalls are packing up. I've been to the markets at all times of the morning and always had a grand time. Quite frankly, a sneaky sleep-in is precious.
What To Buy
Well, that very much depends on what you can see. Once you've done your recce you'll have a much better idea of what kinds of things are in season. Full disclosure: there always seem to be a couple of stalls that have all of the veggies in all of the seasons probably due to some collaboration of hydroponics/greenhouses/witchcraft/cold storage. To spot the freshest and best seasonal stuff I look for the small, family-run, barebones stalls. The ones where you can see a multigenerational staff are often a good bet. Smaller producers often don't have the luxuries of process and storage afforded to bigger farms, so they're more likely to be selling exactly what they've got on hand that week. Pretty often they will be able to tell you exactly when they picked their produce. That's the good shit.
When there's a glut in the market, prices go down. It's simple economics, or so they tell me, and it's a simple way to check that you're buying the right groceries at the right time. For example: I always wait until corn is going for some version of $1 (or less) a cob. I got 10 cobs for $5 recently, and, yes, I ate nothing but corn for a week but it was excellent corn and I loved every tooth-picking cob and that's what counts! It's cost effective AND delicious! Music to the ears of a stingy food-lover. Of course if you've remembered your market buddy you can go halvsies. If you do not have a market buddy, hit me up! I'm keen!
That's all I've got to say for now, thanks for reading to the end of part two. I'm still new at this so if you have anything you'd like to see me write about or feedback to give me GO AHEAD (but be kind, I'm still learning).
Feel free to check out my Instagram for a whole bunch of hideously wholesome photos while you're waiting for the weekend to roll around again.
We're headed into cold weather which means pumpkin season so check in soon