Shopping at the Farmers’ Market – Week 1

Ok.  I can’t be COMPLETELY disingenuous here: I have shopped at the Farmers’ Market before.  I’ve even shopped at THIS PARTICULAR Farmers’ Market before.  And it’s 25 minutes from my house, so you KNOW I love it; there are about 4 markets that are closer to me.

But even with that, I was worried that shopping at the Farmers’ Market would be prohibitively expensive.  I’ve spent a LOT of money there in the past, and managed to come away with some mushrooms, some green onions and a couple of Asian pears (true story – just TRY making dinner with that, when you’ve just blown your budget for the week).  So I decided that first, I’d have to beef up my food budget.  (Americans spend less on average for groceries than just about any other first-world country.  For real.)  And second, that I’d have to watch my spending, even so.  No more buying whatever caught my eye!  There needed to be a method to the madness from now on.  (And if I needed to supplement at the grocery store, fine.  Eighty percent, remember?) 

But in the end, it was surprisingly inexpensive.  Here’s the setup:
In my freezer, I have some flounder and some (cooked, peeled) shrimp I need to use up.  (These were purchased before this experiment, and I don’t see the point in them going to waste.  I won’t be buying them again, though – at least not from the regular grocery.) 
It is also winter and I like heavy food in the winter.  So sue me. 
I perused some of my cookbooks and found several recipes calling for fish, white wine, cream or milk, various herbs, sometimes mustard, etc. 
I have (raw) milk in the fridge, and the aforementioned fish.  So I’m looking for something that will go with that, plus something else for a second main dish for the week.  (I only have myself to feed, so I average about 2-3 dishes a week.)

After wandering around (and an impulse buy, I won’t lie – I NEEDED some Meyer lemons, ok? – just don’t ask me what I’m going to do with them), here’s what I left with:
Fennel – 3 heads, at $1.50/pound = $5.25
Kale – 3 bunches, at $1.25/ea = $3.75
Onions – 2 HUGE ones, at $1.50/pound = $3.00
Sourdough bread – 1 loaf, at $4.00
Pastured eggs, 1 dozen for $2.25 = $2.25
10 citrus, at $1.00/3 items = $9.00 (this was 3 Meyer lemons, 3 navel oranges, 3 limes and one Valencia orange to try.)
Total for the trip: $27.25!

That might be the cheapest I’ve ever gotten out of there! 

Now, the real question: how will I use it?  Here’s the plan:
Fennel, with some onions, will be cooked with the fish in the milk I already have, along with some herbs and served over cous-cous or pasta (see below).
Any remaining fennel will make some salad (I bought a little extra for this).
Most of the kale will go into a gratin (I REALLY need to use that milk before it goes bad, plus I have some raw cheese).
Any remaining kale will make a salad (yes, really – stay tuned for the recipe)!
The bread will be toasted and spread with (pastured) egg salad for breakfasts at work.
Some of the remaining eggs will be used to make mayonnaise for the egg salad (unless I chicken out – no pun intended!).
The citrus . . . well, that was an impulse buy.  I have no freakin’ idea what to do with it, but I’ll figure it out!

To round this out, I also picked up some white wine at Trader Joe’s (for the fish) and some creme fraiche.  (Also for the fish – I think – I’ve never tried it, so it was kind of an impulse buy.  I do a fair amount of impulse buying, but it always seems to work out.) I also grabbed some cous-cous, thinking it might be good under the fish and sauce.  We’ll see.  (I know pasta will work if the cous-cous is gross, or if I just don’t feel like eating it this way.)

Recipes to follow on Wednesday and Friday!


5 responses to this post.

  1. […] Eating from the Farmers’ Market – Inaugural Post This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. ← Operation Normal – and Some Farmers’ Market Shopping LikeBe the first to like this post. […]


  2. It sounds to me as though you did quite well at the market! I’m looking forward to hearing how the week went, and to what you do with the lemons!! 🙂


  3. mmm…sounds yummy.
    I’ve never actually had fennel. I’ve heard it’s good grilled.
    And creme fraiche is delish…
    Looking forward to the recipes 🙂


  4. Marlyle had us try some mustard leaves last night along with some raw kale and white radish leaves. I think it was the first time I felt I didn’t have to “add flavor” to a salad! Usually I go to the herb cabinet and add a few dashes of flavored greenery to make up for the lack-luster lettuce.
    Soo, Chelsea and I will be joining her at the next farmers market on Saturday! (…if Chels and I can get up in time, of course)


  5. Thanks, Bag Lady! I’m looking forward to finding out what I do with the lemons, too! HA!!

    Geosomin, fennel is SUPER good. One of my favorite things, actually, although I never would have really believed that.

    Justin! How the heck did you find this? I haven’t even sent out any “hey come read my blog” emails! 🙂 Too funny about Mom, though – but yeah, her stuff doesn’t usually need extra herbs and spices. Good luck getting up that early . . . *raises an eyebrow* LOL!


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