Tag Archives: farmers market

Buy Fresh, Buy Local, Buy Organic

Articles like this one, “Organic food is no healthier,” frustrate me. The gist – “Our review indicates that there is currently no evidence to support the selection of organically over conventionally produced foods on the basis of nutritional superiority.”

Ok, maybe organic produce is not “healthier” in terms of actual nutritional content, but what about taste? What about those chemical pesticides you’re ingesting? What about the environmental impact of those pesticides and chemicals? What about supporting your local farmers? If “healthy” was only about “nutritional content,” couldn’t we all just take a vitamin-packed food pill and go on our way?

I’d also like to know how fresh the food used in this study was. We all know the fresher your produce is, the more nutrients it retains. And the best way to get fresh produce? Head to the Farmers Market, and chat up your local farmer. Produce doesn’t have to be “certified organic” to be pesticide-free. Ask! Talk to your farmers or the person in charge of produce to your grocery store.

Articles like this bug me, because I feel like people use them as an excuse to not buy organic or local foods, because they’re “expensive” and “not even better for you.” Call me paranoid, but I can’t imagine how ingesting chemically-coated produce is healthy for your body. Isn’t the “expense” worth it?

Besides, being healthy is about more than just magnesium, iron or vitamin C – it’s about the delicious food on your plate, the person who grew it, how it tastes, and how it makes you feel. Compare an organic, local heirloom tomato or farm-fresh peach with their conventional store-bought counterparts and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

buy fresh buy local
And buy organic!

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This Is Why I Love the Farmers Market

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Are these not the most gorgeous onions you have ever seen?

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What’s Fresh in Your Area

I’m sorry guys, I am like 12 years old, but this title totally sounds like an ad for Summer’s Eve, no? 😉

Via Twitter (thanks for the RT that caught my attention, Foodzie), I found this really cool interactive map, where you can find out what’s seasonal and fresh where you live. Apparently okra is in season in CA right now… who knew? I don’t think I’ve ever had it, with the exception of a gumbo in New Orleans. Anyway, you can search for seasonal produce by state and month – check out what’s in season now where you live!

Thanks, Epicurious – very cool!

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Peak-Season Map

PS: A guy totally asked me if I worked on a farm yesterday! I’m like, I know my jeans are torn, but really, I thought that was trendy. 😉 Turns out it was because I have a Buy Fresh, Buy Local sticker on my computer. I was like, nope, I’m just into that stuff. I have a green blog. Cue blank expression. Ha.

What’s in season where you live? What are you most looking forward to being in season?

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Lunch in the Park

What a nice lunch break I just had! First I went to the San Mateo Farmers’ Market and got a bunch of great stuff – a red bell pepper, a yellow bell pepper, asparagus (which will apparently be in season until May, head’s up. Get it while you can!), Brussels sprouts, apples and hummus & jalapeno red pepper jelly/sauce from the Afghani food stand. The girl that works there is always so nice and generous with her samples that I feel like I have to buy something! She got me again!

Then I assembled my lunch and walked to a little park nearby to enjoy it. The weather is so great today that a walk and eating outside were totally necessary! Here’s my lunch, posing with my slightly obnoxious “I’m Not a Plastic Bag” bag (especially because it was made in China. Ironic, huh? Grr). Sliced apple (darn braces! I can’t wait until I can bite into a real apple again!). Leftover cold local broccoli. My latest yogurt obsession, Straus Vanilla with Stahlbush Farms sustainably farmed frozen fruit. Hate that it’s packaged, but it’s good in a pinch. I reused this yogurt container that I bought when I needed a starter for my homemade yogurt. An English muffin sandwich with Mendocino Hot & Sweet Mustard, the red pepper jelly/sauce from the Farmer’s market, Diestel honey turkey, avocado from my CSA, and thinly sliced local apples. Also pictured: my Sigg water bottle. Funny, their website actually is “My Sigg.” Heh.

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Lunch

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Me in my walking hat

Lunch was great, as was getting outside. I read Body & Soul while I was eating, which had TONS of great eco-friendly tips. I know, getting eco-friendly tips from a magazine is like the height of irony, but I’ve drastically cut back on my magazine subscriptions recently, and always make sure to hand them off to friends, and make them promise to pass them along once they are done!

Speaking of magazines, check out this Us Weekly (I have to – I write celeb gossip trivia for work) peeking out from under my Farmers’ Market produce. I love how it looks like Jason, the Bachelor, is very pensive about produce. Also note the Envirosax bag with a big stupid ink stain. Grr!

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Going Organic in a Tough Economy

People often tell me that they’d like to eat organic, but that it’s too expensive, especially in these tough economic times. I understand – trust me. Money is definitely tight for me lately, as I know it is for many, many people. However, I think it comes down to priorities. You – yes, you! – can afford organic if you want to. It’s a matter of how you choose to spend your money. My sister, who I really admire and look up to (despite her being younger than me. She is taller, though, so it still works!), is currently looking for work, and money is very, very tight, but she will absolutely not sacrifice the quality of the food she buys, for environmental, health, and other reasons, such as supporting local farmers. I feel the same way – what I put into my body is very important, and I am not willing to sacrifice that, or deal with the environmental impacts that go along with eating foods ridden with pesticides and grown in unnatural and scary ways. There are other ways I can cut back, such as cooking more at home, bringing my lunch, not buying a ton of stuff I don’t really need, etc. Conveniently, many of these are the more eco-friendly way to go as well! Though I spend more on groceries than many of my friends, cooking a lot of my own food, even organic food, is definitely cheaper than eating out most of the time.

I just read a statistic in Eating Well that said choosing organic foods can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 68%. I’ll have to do a little more research as I don’t like blindly reporting statistics without knowing where they came from (though I guess I kind of just did, heh), but really, there is nothing to lose by going organic, not even money. It’s better for the environment, it’s better for your body, and it can even be better for your local economy. One note: pay attention to where the food is from! I would never suggest eating organic if the only food you can find is imported from very far away. I definitely plan on doing a local vs. organic post in the near future, but paying attention to food labels and information is key.

Here are some tips to help you eat organic, on a budget!

1. Shop Farmers Markets! This tip is given often for a reason – it’s a good one! Farmers Markets have a bounty of delicious, affordable, local, in-season produce. Plus, you often get to interact with the people who actually grew your food – how cool is that? You’re putting money into your local economy, directly to the people who give you the food that will nourish you. Win-win. Something to note: just because a farm stand at the Market is not listed as organic does not necessarily mean they are not organic, or grow their products with pesticides. Often the process of becoming Certified Organic is far too expensive for small farms, but you can absolutely ask them how they grow their products. Also, I just read about an organization called Certified Naturally Grown which was created to “provide an alternative way to assure their customers that they observed strict growing practices. CNG strives to strengthen the organic movement by removing financial barriers to certification that tend to exclude smaller direct-market farms, while preserving high standards for natural production methods.” Very cool.

Find your local Farmers Market using Local Harvest

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(Farmers Market in summer)

2. Join a CSA. Similar to a Farmers Market, CSAs allow you to get produce directly from Farmers. Mine is super affordable – I believe I pay $17.50 a week for an Extra Small bag, which has 6 items (one item could be a bunch of carrots, 5 apples, a head of broccoli, a bag of Brussels sprouts, etc). I like to pay by the season so the Farmers know they have money coming in!

3. Grow your own. This is an option I would like to explore, but have not yet. I really want to attempt to grow some herbs and easy vegetables up on my rooftop. I need to do a little more research on what grows well in this foggy climate!

4. Buy in bulk. I would like to do a further post on this as well, after I go to a great local co-op in the next few days. Most natural foods stores, and even some larger chain grocery stores, if that’s all you have nearby, sell all kinds of food in bulk. My favorite co-op, Rainbow Grocery, sells everything from nuts and oats to shampoo and laundry detergent in bulk. You can save money and save plastic and other packaging at the same time, by bringing your own containers to refill. Sweet!

5. Buy what’s in on sale season, and freeze it yourself. Produce that is in season often goes on sale when it is abundant – think berries in the summer, etc. I had the “Extra Strawberry Package” from my CSA over the summer, and got 3 containers of strawberries a week. Next summer, I plan on freezing what I can’t eat so I can have delicious organic fruit-year round. Eating by the season is wonderful, and we have seasons for a reason. Down with off-season berries from Mexico! I plan to do some posts on how to freeze fruits and veggies in the future.

Those are just a few tips to get you started! Let me know if you have any questions or need any help getting started on eating organic/local – I obviously love to talk about it!

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Farmer’s Market Bounty

I woke up early this morning and decided to head to the Farmers Market at the SF Ferry Building. The weather’s kind of yucky and rainy here, but I decided to take the bus anyway, as it is an easy trip from my house, and one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to drive less. I believe this Farmers Market has been rated one of the best in the country, and for good reason! I feel so lucky to live in California where we have access to wonderful produce year round! Here’s what I got:

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Spinach*
2 (delicious!!) pears
2 Pink Lady Apples
1 Granny Smith apple
1 chanterelle mushroom
Humanely-raised filet mignon from Marin Sun Ranch
Grapes
Leek
Cauliflower
Broccoli
Red onion
Shallots
Certifed Humane ground beef
Red pepper

*Yes you are seeing that correctly – it’s in a plastic bag! I brought my own mesh bags, but I also have a drawer where I keep plastic bags that I happen to get from time to time – sometimes my CSA gives me produce in them, or I save bags that bread or English muffins came in, etc. Might as well reuse them if you’ve got them!

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