FAST Blog: Family Homestead

Permaculture, Preparedness, Homesteading & Survival

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Shopping Local - Farmer's Market

Every Thursday, our local high street welcomes the Farmer's Market. There's everything from fresh fruit and veggies, artisan breads, cheeses, cakes, cider...the list goes on. It can be hard not to buy all the delicious things on offer, but I try to keep in mind all of the delicious things I am going to make myself and can usually resist!

I usually do a monthly online shop for larger items like cat food and loo rolls, and then do a weekly shop for our food. We've got a freezer full of meals at the moment that I have made and frozen the left-overs of previously, so this week we only really needed some top up fresh produce. I am becoming more and more disappointed with the fresh foods available in the supermarkets. Vegetables and fruits that should be juicy and full of flavour are often flavourless and unappealing. I won't even get started on how lacking in essential vitamins and minerals these forced over-farmed fruit and veggies will be.  The higher-end fruit and vegetables in the 'taste the difference' ranges etc, are so ridiculously expensive that I don't see how a normal family would be able to afford them!

 I want to know where my produce has come from, and how far it has traveled. I want to know that it has been picked carefully, by hand and I want all of my apples and carrots to be different shapes and sizes! I also think that it's incredibly important to support our local farmers. As a small business owner myself, I know how support from the people around you is so essential.

When Logan and I arrived at the fruit and vegetable stall today, they had out baskets to pop your shopping in, and little kiddie sized baskets too, which Logan thought was wonderful. I carried a basket for the heavier items and Logan carried his very own basket. He had the best time helping me, and it is a great way to teach kids about food. I told Logan that we needed two carrots and asked him to pick them for me. He found out the carrots, inspected them, and then picked out a couple and popped them into his basket, looking rather proud of himself. I was proud of him too. Next he helped me pick out some berries, (which he kept trying to sneak in his mouth!) a piece of ginger and some big sticks of rhubarb.

Over all, we got 2 carrots, 3 onions(biggest ones I've ever seen!) , 2 bunches of spring onions, big piece of ginger, 1 pak choi, bag of damsons, 4 punnets blackberries, 2 punnets raspberries, bag of medjool dates, 7 bananas and 6 sticks of rhubarb for the grand total of £12! It came to £12.95, but the kind man let me off the 95p. I really was astounded at how cheap it was, if i'd have gotten this produce in the supermarket, I'd probably have paid more than £12 for the berries alone! But not only did we get all of this fresh local produce, we also had a great experience too. Logan had a great time looking, touching and picking the fruit and veg, and I really enjoyed telling him what all of the weird and wonderful items were. There were things that you can't even get in the local supermarket, so he's never really seen one before, such as a Mooli. It also taught him to be independent by picking his own pieces, and carrying the basket, and it taught him that it's fun to help Mummy shop.

He really was made up with the basket, and is already looking forward to going to the farmer's market next week. I will try and make it a weekly occurrence, and try and do the bulk of my shopping there. I also spotted a stall selling a dozen XL free range local eggs for £2.40, so until we have our own eggs, i'll be getting some of those!

I'm planning on making a Rhubarb and Vanilla jam, and a mixed berry and damson jam with my haul today, and using the rest of the items during the week in meals/ lunches. I am already planning next weeks veggie haul, and plan on getting the ingredients for a mixed chutney. The weather here over the last few days has turned very autumnal, and I love making preserves at this time of year. I finally treated myself to a maslin pan this year, so need to make the most of it, after wanting one for so long!

My challenge to you this week is to try your local farmer's market, greengrocers or market stall, and see if it makes a difference to your meals and your bank balance!


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