Thursday, July 14, 2011

Farmers Market Disappointment

I have always wanted to shop at farmer's markets. I love the idea of helping out local growers, putting fresh, and I assume healthier ingredients on my table and I also assumed I would be saving a little cash as well.

A win -win for everyone.

I have tried to hit a few in the past, but something always came up. Last night I had to run a last minute errand and passed our local Farmer's Market (only runs Weds 4-7 during the summer) and I made up my mind that on my way back, I was definitely stopping.

Keep in mind I was a farmer's market virgin.

So I walked up and decided my best bet was to scan all the booths first to see what was available. I wanted to support as many of them as possible (it wasn't very crowded) and only 7-ish booths.

The first booth had: small tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, & hot peppers.
The second booth had: large tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, & hot peppers.
The third booth had: large tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, hot peppers, corn & green beans.
The forth booth had: honey.
The fifth booth had: large tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, hot peppers, blackberries & homemade jam.
The sixth booth had: dog food.
The seventh booth had: wine.
The last booth had: bread.

So working my way backwards I started with the bread booth. I ordered a baguette and a loaf of pretzel bread (though I would have loved to try something more adult, but I thought these were the best options for my selective eaters). Total $9. I guess that is a good buy, but it felt high to me and they didn't list their prices, or I didn't see them.

I didn't really have a budget in mind, but I only had a $20 so I would have to be more selective with my other purchases.

I was making pork tenderloin for dinner so some fresh produce to pair with it would be great.
I opted for a container of the fresh blackberries. $4

Next I wanted some large tomatoes. I got 2. They weighed them. $2

Lastly, I picked out some zucchini. 2 for $1


When I got home I washed the blackberries. The ones on the bottom were all mush and I noticed tiny bugs on the others. It took rinsing 3 times and finally soaking for 10 minutes before I was convinced all the bugs were gone. Then 1/2 of them were so tart my kids were having challenges to see who could eat them without making faces.

I did not try the baguette b/c my kids hated the pretzel bread so I saved the baguette for them. The pretzel bread was extremely salty, even when scrapping off the salt.

I put the tomatoes on a window ledge to further ripen and need to make something with the zucchini. I will say, the girl at that booth gave me some zucchini recipes and everyone was really nice. I give customer service an A.

I just felt overall, I prefer the quality and the prices at Meijer when it comes to my produce. I was a little bummed. Maybe I am doing it wrong but I HATE haggling so if that is necessary, forget it.

Do you have any Farmer's Market advice? I definitely need it.

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