Shopping at the farmers market can be one of the best ways to maintain a wholesome and well-rounded diet filled with tasty, quality ingredients.
Shopping at the Farmers Market
The French are always concerned about the quality of their ingredients. No one runs away faster from processed food and additives than a French person. That’s why the French are loyal to their local farmers market and tend to do most of their shopping there.
The first step to shopping for more quality, fresh ingredients the way the French do is to find a market you can rely on. Do some research and find a farmers market that provides lots of fresh produce and natural ingredients. Some farmers markets even offer organic poultry, fish, and eggs, which is even better.
My farmers market isn’t available everyday, and since I like to shop every few days, I do my grocery shopping at a mix of places. In addition to the farmers market, I like to visit my local Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. You can find great imported cheeses, butter, and wines at Trader Joe’s for affordable prices, while Whole Foods can be a fantastic resource for bakery items.
I try to shop for fruits and vegetables strictly at the farmers market and then supplement at the other stores for items that aren’t available from my local farmers.
Shopping this way can be slightly more expensive than shopping at traditional chain stores, depending on what you buy or where you shop. But the thing is, you start becoming much more critical and aware of what you’re actually buying at the grocery store and how you consume it after.
For some people, it can actually help them save in the long run.
For instance, if I’m buying a peach from the farmer’s market, and the peach costs me $1 each vs, let’s say, 30 cents each at a big box store, I’m going to take greater interest in what that $1 peach looks like and what its origins are. I’m also going to be using it much more wisely when I get home.
Rather than toss the peach into a bowl of fruit that may or may not get eaten by the week’s end, I will come up with an idea for using that peach either that day or the next, whether I simply slice up the peach and serve it with a small cup of yogurt in my breakfast spread, or I bake the peach and serve it with some fresh cream for dessert.
There’s no way I’m going to let that $1 peach go to waste!
It’s all about choosing your ingredients wisely and thoughtfully.
If you do want to shop at farmers markets but budget is still an issue for you, try visiting the market near the end of the day, when the farmers are closing up shop. You’re much more likely to get a better deal and haggle better prices.
When you’re shopping for quality, fresh ingredients, you’ll always want to shop what’s in season. The reason for this is that you’ll simply get much better flavor out of your ingredients. And better flavor means less work in the kitchen and more pleasure eating your food.
You won’t have to put as much effort into trying to flavor your meals and make them yummy when the ingredients you start out with are already incredibly tasty.
Try making a tart with subpar strawberries. You’d have to add a decent amount of sugar to make it taste like dessert. But if you grab a carton of sweet, ruby-red, aromatic strawberries, you might even skip the pastry crust and just eat them with a dollop of whipped cream.
Once you start shopping for fresh, quality ingredients, you’ll notice that you’ve got to consume them sooner than you would have with processed or frozen foods. The French understand this and prefer this, so they tend to shop every couple of days rather than once a week.
I enjoy going to the market and finding new surprises waiting for me each time.
Maybe it’s a fresh bunch of asparagus standing pretty and tall, beckoning my name. It’s exciting to see and try different ingredients and come up with new dishes. It takes the monotony out of cooking.
You’ll also develop a deeper appreciation for using quality ingredients and creating your meals at home.