Today officially marked week one of Farmers Market challenge. I set myself a challenge in this blog post to demonstrate how easy and enjoyable it is to buy your weekly produce at a farmers market every week while maintaining a budget. My market of choice this week was the Ascot Vale Farmers Market held every Sunday at the Melbourne showgrounds (except for the Melbourne Show weeks during September as I recently discovered). Penny and I trotted along with our reusable bags when the market opened at 9am this morning.
Adopting simple practices such as buying direct from the producer ends up being better for your health, the farmers, their communities and the environment while moving your living habits away from relying on the big conglomerates who end up dictating what we eat and drive prices down for the farmers.
The big thing for me at the moment is sticking to budget. I have a $40 weekly budget to feed 2 of us. It’s not much and I regularly go over because I get so excited buying good quality food. I’ve concluded that it’s money well spent as it gets eaten then shrug my shoulders and resolve to stick to budget the following week. This week I managed to get this list of organic produce:
- 1 kg Nicola potatoes ($2.50)
- 2 x leeks, 2 x broccoli, pumpkin ($8)
- Bag 4 large carrots, bunch of rainbow chard, bunch baby beetroot, 2 parsnips ($11)
- Bunch of asparagus ($2)
- 3 large Pink Lady apples ($2.20) – chemical free not certified organic
- Wholemeal sourdough ($6)
Since I bought fresh bread, I’ve made some bread crumbs with my old bread. While the oven was on I decided to roast the baby beetroot for a salad tonight, reserving some for another batch of brownies – this time making a beetroot and chocolate version. Nicola potatoes have a waxy texture and hold their shape and are great for making gnocchi, potato salads and roasting as I’m told by the farmer who grew and sold me the ‘taters. I love to make large batches of gnocchi and freeze them in portions – which keep for up to 3 months – for quick grab and heat meals. I just found this recipe for Gnocchi with Thyme Vinigarette with Lemon Cashew Cheese on one of my fav Vegan recipe sites, Vegan Yum Yum which I’ll adapt and use the potatoes. The broccoli will go into my Hearty Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup (minus the cauliflower because I didn’t buy any) which will keep my overworked lawyer housemate healthy. I have some leftover home made green thai curry paste to use with the carrots, asparagus, broccoli, pumpkin and leek. Last night I whipped up some pizza dough which I can use to make some pumpkin, thyme and caramelised leek pizzas during the week.
Not only good for fresh organic produce, farmers markets offer some delicious items to eat there. Penny and I shared one of these amazing burgers from a stall with no name. The fresh seasonal ingredients teamed with beautiful sourdough rolls, handmade meat patties and homemade relishes were perfect weekend breakfast fare. What I loved most is that the chef snipped fresh greens from the bunch as he was making them. Yummo!
I’ll plug ’em again – get into your local (or not so local for a day trip) farmers markets…they’re great! (imagine cheesy grin here). You can find out what market is on by visiting the Farmers Market Association website here.
The beginnings of my own little farmers market…