Hen_0012

                                                                                                                          Photo by Donna
I believe in the necessity and obligation to know the source of the food I buy and to buy hand raised products.  This often means paying more for my food.   I have to confess that I'm a terrible skinflint and that when I'm at my wonderful North Union Farmer's Market, much as I'm grateful for it and proud of it, there's much I don't buy because I think I can't afford it, such as the mushrooms, the grass fed beef. (I think all writers who become productive primarily out of fear of poverty retain forever a knee-jerk miserlines.) 

But on Saturday morning—(rain, happily! seriously cuts down on the crowds, and strollers are rare)—I decided to take my time and buy everything I'd buy at the grocery store.  Plus a lot more corn than most people would imagine eating.  Six, seven, eight, nine ears is a perfect Saturday morning breakfast as far as I'm concerned (I bought 18 ears for $9). I did not by the five-pound $25 duck.  I did not buy potatoes or some of the beautiful greens available (wish I had).  And when I totaled it all up, it didn't cost much more than what I'd have spent at the grocery store on a typical visit.  For $71 bucks, and a few staples, I think I've got four great meals for four, plus a couple of lunches.

Instead of the whole duck, I bought 6 legs for about $3 a piece—will braise four for dinner on monday and confit two more for a weekday lunch with my amazing wife.  I love to be able to buy the farm-raised veal and $11 of loin will cover four people if I stretch it.  The farm raised meat I believe is truly important to buy.  Next week beef.  And of course a couple friends and I are going in for two massive hogs in the fall.

Eggs.  I love love love fresh eggs.  They cost a buck fifty more than agrichicken eggs?  That's $3.50 well spent.  The heads of garlic at $1.50?  They were a buck last year—how that old hippy gets by selling garlic even at a dollar fifty, I don't know but I'm glad he does because it's the best garlic on earth.  The other stuff: cabbages, green beans, zucchini and summer squash, peaches, eggplant, and bell peppers.  By the time I had all this stuff my arm was so tired and it was becoming so difficult to fumble through my wallet for cash, I gave up from fatigue and said, no potatoes today, none of that beautiful baby arugula.  Sigh.

I think the thing I have to remember is to shop smartly at these markets—the kids don't need that fudge, made by the veal and duck people, Donna and I don't need those gorgeous mushrooms this week (maybe next)—and that paying more for the food isn't really that much more.  And of course the quality of the product cannot be beat.  What I need most, though, is a shopping cart.

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79 Wonderful responses to “Farmer’s Market: $71.25”

  • kristin

    I love going to the farmer’s market here. The one thing is we have a place that is an upscale market not too far from my house. They get stuff right from the farmers so when I cannot get downtown, I go over and still can get 9 ears of farm raised corn for $1.92. Either way I hate to see it end because as you know Michael, winters in Ohio can be long.

  • Sues

    That is such a pretty picture…and the garlic looks amazing! I love my local farmer’s market; the fish is especially fabulous. But the fudge is good too :)

  • Ben

    Yet another reminder that I should get back into the habit of going to the one in my city…

  • Dana McCauley

    I find the savings on the produce are so great at my Farmer’s market that I can splurge on other more expensive items. For instance, a measely handful of green beans at my local shop is about $3.50 while at my farmer’s market I get enough for several meals for $5.

  • Heather

    Living in a rural community near Ottawa, Canada I am lucky to have many different Farmer’s Markets available. Saturday mornings, I pack up my 2 year old…my 5 year old likes cartoons more than shopping so he stays with dad!
    The raw goat milk cheese, the garlic ramps in spring, spring also great for fiddleheads (love them/or hate them), Pure apple blossom honey (if you haven’t tried it..PLEASE do). You can buy venison, elk, organic beef, every baked product possible, the farm ladies put up their own preserves etc….there’s just nothing like it. Now with Autumn pretty much here…apples, squash, root veg etc…In my opinion there is no better way to shop. I love the Community Supported Agriculture here too. It’s a great thing. Cheers to the Farmers market. The taste, and quality cannot be beat.It is indeed worth the extra few dollars.

  • cheryl k

    For 6 weeks out of the year, the North Union Farmers Market, sets up shop here on the west side of town near my home. Last week was their last week. I so enjoyed shopping there every Sunday morning at 9. I was buying 24 ears of corn every week, then blanching and freezing it. I did this last year too and it’s wonderful to take that out at Thanksgiving or have a bowl of corn chowder on a cold Ohio evening. Now it’s back to the West Side Market, not as close to home but it beats the grocery store by a mile.

  • Abbie

    Reading this was so funny to me. We are able to buy 6 ears of corn here from a farm for $2, and the veggies and fruit you bought in the picture would have cost about $12 total. BUT I do not live in a city, which probably makes a huge difference. Everything looks so tasty!

  • Sharon

    I need a shopping cart too, and a second refrigerator.

    I could also use a freezer if I want to by a quarter cow and a half pig.

  • Kate F

    Mmmm. I joined a really great CSA this year (Stone Soup Farms in Belchertown, MA–it’s run by a bunch of idealistic 25 year olds and hey have done an amazing job) and I think I’ve saved a lot of money over shopping at Whole Foods, while also getting the most fantastic produce and being forced to experiment with things I might not have bought on my own. I think I paid $275 for 20 weeks of a half share, about 8-10 pounds/week. Over on my blog I have posted photos and a list of the haul each week, along with what I’ve cooked with it, and 8 pounds has been just about right for 2 people as long as we eat at home 3-4 nights/week. I dreamed of joining one of the meat CSAs near me, but the price was out of reach this year and we don’t have the freezer space to store any extra, anyway. Soon!

    My mind has been blown by the garlic and onions from the CSA–compared to the sticky supermarket stuff that garlic is nectar from the gods. Amazing.

  • Megan

    This is the first year that I’ve been making an effort to go to a local farmer’s market. The one I hit, is the one in Union Square in NY. When I do go, I need to budget in extra time. I find that I tend to wander around in circles for at least a half hour, before I can even bring myself to buy anything. It all just looks so good.

    I’m finding that, while produce is indeed more expensive, the dishes I cook now use far fewer ingredients. All the extra stuff isn’t necessary with such good quality stuff. So, in a way, it all ALMOST balances out in the end.

    I’m also attempting to grow produce in my postage stamp sized yard, which is helping to supplement our food intake.

    Lastly, we haven’t transitioned over to buying grass fed meats, but that is definitely a goal of ours. We purchased a chest freezer this summer, so I’m hoping to scope out a way to buy good quality meats in larger quantities, and save a little dough that way.

    Thanks, as always, for the lovely blog. I finally ordered a couple of your books. Can’t wait for them to arrive.

  • luis

    Support your local farmers market 1000%.

    I buy cheaper there for sure. But I run an efficient pantry. Hate having veggies sitting around more than two days. That just ruins the “JUST IN TIME” chi of my kitchen.

    I have NOTICED a trend at the megamarts away from the pre-packaged vegetable bubble packs/sacks to traditional by weight, get what you need.

    This trend emerged very recently here as the prices trended UP! and the economy slowed down! the sacks and bubble packs disapeared from the shelves. Check it out at your area…

  • bourgeoisbee

    I too struggle with this issue when going to farmer’s markets. “Do I really need the heirloom tomatoes?…I know I can get garlic cheaper, but I also know it won’t have the same flavor…” In the end though, it’s worth it to get the fresh, high quality, local staples. There are so many more varieties of produce available at farmer’s markets and I’d much rather see a few flies hanging around my produce than auto-mist glistening on a wax coating. Thanks for highlighting this conundrum we go through and for the reminder good food comes from good ingredients.

    Thanks too to True Nature Foods for bringing a great farmer’s market to the Edgewater neighborhood in Chicago.

  • DQKennard

    An interesting side effect of high gas prices is that the prices are high enough on shipped-in non-local food that there is much less premium on buying local, usually organic produce. A fair number of people who “would buy organic if only it weren’t so expensive” are getting won over. The difference in price is no longer a deal breaker. In some cases, it may even be cheaper.

    Also, in my area there is a very competitive supermarket environment. It’s been nice to see that part of how they’re competing is on the basis of having quality produce and a wider range of interesting ingredients and products.

  • Aaron Kagan

    I always have to fight my miserly quality at markets, but when I do, I and the farmers are better for it.

    Why don’t we want to spend at a market when we’ll spend at a supermarket? Because we think of one as a necessity for survival and the other as fun. Wrong. You can survive on what you buy from a farmer’s market. In fact, that’s how we as a species got by for a really long time.

    Before I go to a market, I make myself get a lot of cash, then I make myself spend it all. Then I have to eat it all, don’t go the grocery, and everyone’s happy.

    http://www.teaandfood.blogspot.com

  • lisa

    We have a Wednesday farmers’ market that’s on my way home from work, and I love stopping by to gather a few things mid-week. This week, I found some gorgeous varieties of eggplant. The cost was maybe just a little more than grocery store organic eggplant, but having the opportunity to ask the grower about the differences in taste and texture was priceless.

  • beaniegrrl

    Being out on the rural outskirts of your home town, we do a combination of the North Union market (west side), the West Side Market, and an informal growers co-op we’ve formed with our neighbors. It’s great to know the people who grow your food, and it’s even greater to plan dinner by walking down the street to grab some fresh mushrooms and eggs and to grab the heirloom ‘maters from your own back yard. Long live local eating!

  • drago

    The strollers……oh, the strollers.

    We go to the Worthington Farmer’s Market down here in Columbus, which runs from ~9AM to noon on Saturdays. Get there much past 10AM and not only is the best stuff gone, but you have to contend with an unbearable number of those double-wide strollers. Worst invention ever.

    But MAN is the Ohio corn good this year; we’ve been eating it three times per week. It’s nice because just about when you’re getting tired of it, it goes out of season anyway. Peaches have been good this year, too. I should freeze some before they’re all gone…

  • EB

    I had to make an emergency run to a big supermarket and spent 50$ on 3 bags of crappy, sub-standard produce. Now at the farmers market I would have spent 65$ and been grinning ear to ear all week from it’s goodness. Damn.

  • Walt Smith

    Nice post Michael; while I was turning pepper green with envy over your description of the local Farmers Market, I began reading the comments. (Is this how my wife feels when she reads a romance novel?)

    I live in a small town in northern West Virginia and we have a small Farmers Market with a few very dedicated organic farmers. While it’s true we small town folks might pay a bit less (garlic $1.00, eggs $3.00) that’s not the whole story. I can visit every vendor in our market in about 5 minutes and most everyone carries the same products. We can get excellent quality but have very limited variety. To get grass fed beef or some nice organic pork (the lifeblood of the universe!!!) I have to head to Pittsburgh, PA or Columbus, OH. Duck you say? I have to ship it in from the Hudson Valley. A few weeks ago my wife and I had occasion to be in Cleveland and made a point to stop by the West Side Market. I felt like I was 8 years old on my first trip to Disney World!

    Anyway, great story Michael, and the rest of you, keep those comments coming! The season will soon be over but with your help I can soon lay down for that long winters nap while visions of Summer Squash dance in my head.

  • Ricky

    I went to the Santa Monica Farmers Market this Saturday…

    You guys are making me realize, even more so, how expensive California is.

  • HappyHoarfrost

    Okay, “I’m a terrible skinflint” is one of the funniest things you’ve ever said.

    I’m laughing (with a mortifying little coffee-geyser of understanding) at the frugal condition: nothing like a size Chapter Eleven boot in the rump roast to motivate writing and forever have you in line, sorting and resorting the contents of your basket.

    I agree that there is nothing like fresh eggs (they truly taste like chicken, not like gloopy store-bought). We’re lucky to have a friend with an organic poultry farm. My daughter once cradled a freshly-laid egg for about twelve hours before we made one very small, kick-grass omelette.

    As a stroller-pusher, I won’t take offense to your concerns; instead I will share the secret: You don’t need a cart–you just need a damn stroller! Come to the dark side. You could pull a Richard Scarry illustration and Sharpie a face on a nice sack of flour, tuck it in the stroller, and let the marketing dominance begin.
    My kids have come to fully expect ears of corn stabbed in next to them, and have often napped on an eggplant’s surrogate bosom.(Meat’s best relegated to the bottom compartment.)

    Truly, you can fit a lot in a very small, lightweight and RESPECTFULLY maneuvered stroller.

    Of course all veggies look better out of the dressing room-lighting of the store, and sublime-per-usual through Mrs. Ruhlman’s lens.

  • jscirish27

    Michael, I am a professional cook working in NYC and I love your writing and insight. As for farmers markets, the Greenmarkets of NYC are some of the best. While the Greenmarket is admittedly not always the cheapest, the quality of the food more than makes up for it. Besides, eating the best, most local, most wholesome and best tasting food you can is something you should never feel is a splurge (as long as you do the cooking yourself). That produce looks amazing btw. I have been wanting to check out the food scene in your hometown for awhile . . .

  • HenrysMom

    I, too, like to shop the farmer’s market here in Ann Arbor without my 6 year old! But he loves to go and we try to go every week when the market runs. I think it’s important for him to see the diversity of food, meet and talk to the farmers and see his parents eat good stuff. This is not to say that he will eat much of what we see or buy. But I remain ever hopeful that vegetables will someday mean more than corn on the cob and carrots for him!

  • Annette

    Ah.. I wish I could get to a farmer’s market. The ones near my house are weekday afternoons when I’m at work, and any that I could go to outside of work, are at least a 45 minute drive away. So I settle for Whole Foods.

    Maybe I should quit my job…

  • Jeff

    I’d love to see how the markets around the country compare in price. Here in SF we have the ever crowded and ever pricey Ferry Building market. It’s become so crowded and pricey that it’s hardly worth going anymore. You can beat the crowds by going extra early, but you cannot change the prices. It’s a shame, because the quality is hard to beat. We are however, starting to see other more reasonably priced markets pop up in other parts of the city.

  • Kitt

    I adore my neighborhood farmer’s market, but sometimes wish they had a little more variety. My favorite stand is run by Hmong farmers, who offer gai lan, yu choi and other hearty greens.

    When the market is not running, I find that Asian markets offer the best deals and variety for produce. And herbs! Big bags of basil a dollar, as opposed to a measly small clamshell box for $3 at Safeway.

  • Heather

    I can’t believe some of the prices people are talking about! I am really shocked. Here a baker’s dozen of amazing corn is $4.00, 6 heads of garlic run around 1.00-2.00, lettuce etc is .75 cents. Although, I do realize places like New York, California would be much more expensive than the booming metropolis of Carp Ontario. I am just surprised. Duck is not all that expensive here either…oddly organic beef is insanely priced…though I’m afraid to ask what you guys pay for a whole tenderloin…

  • Phil

    There’s no question that shopping the Farmer’s Market for produce is the smartest choice any consumer can make. You’re getting freshly picked local fruits and vegetables at equal or less than what you’d pay in the grocery store, and usually chemical-free.

    Above that, for me it’s the fact that I’m supporting local farmers instead of lining the pockets of corporate-owned grocery chains. And the farmers we go back to time after time recognize us every week and could not be friendlier to us, and actually THANK us for our business.

    Of all of my horrible retail experiences, shopping our local Farmer’s Market more than makes up for it. Cheers to you Michael for a great post. Not enough can be said about the virtues of shopping your local Farmer’s Market.

  • MessyONE

    We LOVE the farmers markets. Everywhere we’ve lived we’ve done our best to find them and go every week they’re open. The only exception was Dallas – theirs is awful.

    Ottawa – Byward Market. Fabulous.
    Toronto – Kensington Market and Front Street.
    Chicago – We go to Evanston. It’s big and the parking is free.

    Our strategy (That would be The Boy’s strategy. I am incoherent until 7:30 a.m.) is to go early, take the granny cart, stop at an ATM and not look to closely at prices. We stop when the cart is full and/or the bags get too heavy. Thankfully, we have a hatchback.

    This year we froze a lot of lovely blackberries and made a bunch of strawberry-rhubarb sauce.

  • Eamon

    Great post Michael. As a market manager, I hear complaints about prices all the time. I monitor the produce prices at all the nearby supermarkets and know that the farmers are competitively pricing their produce. And our educated shoppers know that too. The smart shopper also knows that he or she is buying fresher produce as well. Given a choice, would you spend $1.50 on a head of lettuce that spent 2-3 days on a truck or on a head that was harvested at 4am for you to buy at 10am? Pretty easy decision, I think.

    Shop smartly, buy seasonally and you won’t be spending more money. Unless you cannot resist the siren call of the early chanterelles calling your name.

  • Ricky

    My list from some of the things I bought Saturday in Santa Monica…

    Whole chicken $4.50/lb
    4 ears of corn $6.00
    A baguette $2.00
    Small thyme plant $3.00
    3 small baskets of strawberries $8.00

    I’m not complaining. I love supporting the farmers and bringing home fresh goodness. Just saying for comparison’s sake.

  • Sam

    I love the farmer’s market, but I love my CSA share even more! As a member of the only year round CSA in Michigan, I am guaranteed fresh veggies even in the middle of winter.

  • Debbie Franco

    I live and work very close to our local farmers market. It is my grocery store for fruit and produce. I have a freezer full of peaches that will be used this fall. The corn is more expensive than it is at the grocery store, but tastes so much better. All of the other veggies are cheaper at the fm. Unfortunately, we don’t have the veal or duck available here. There is a farmer who sells beef, pork and chicken though. I want more! I love the fresh eggs too.

    Ditto on the sore arm! My shoulder aches too from my heavy bag, but I’m not giving up that fresh food, or the convenience that the market gives me.

  • mattatouille

    I’ve seen people at the Hollywood Farmer’s market with shopping carts and wondered why they’d ever need that. Then again, the last time I cooked for a small army, it was all produce from the Santa Monica Farmer’s market. A cart would have been very useful. (Plus I think you’d get more sales…)

  • Heather

    MessyONE: Byward Market is fab! You get the best of Ontario and Quebec since the Outaouais(Ottawa is about 2 mins to Quebec so…someone came up with this name) region has amazing wild blueberries, maple syrup.cheeses, etc. I can’t even believe someone else knows about it! LOL The Byward Market is gorgeous. If anyone comes to visit Ottawa Canada…I think it’s a must see. I will be sure to visit some of the markets you mentioned on my next trip to the U.S. If I can suggest any…Carp Farmers market..has a lovely website too, Almonte, Arnprior on Wednesdays, Renfrew and Pembroke.Sorry, giving my props to the Ottawa Valley. LOL

  • milo

    I love the farmers market, but here in Chicago many things seem incredibly expensive. Thankfully the garden gets better every year so we need to buy less and less.

    For meat, it might be cheaper to buy a bunch at once, either a side, split side, or a package deal.

    I just picked up 25 pounds of grass fed today, worth every penny as far as I’m concerned. Now if I could just find a source for local organic/natural/pastured chicken that had birds split up instead of just whole ones…

  • Heather

    BTW…Chantrelles grow rampant around the pine trees in the forests near where I live…anyone wants any…holler cuz they’re free….They do have a very short period in which they grow in my zone though…not sure for others. Personally…not a big fan..I know….*sigh*

  • Heather

    Milo…I know a place who does the chickens whole and in parts…however it’s here in Canada..although they do ship.

  • MessyONE

    Heather…

    We lived in Ottawa for 5 1/2 years, during which I worked at an art gallery that shall remain nameless that has a goose on it’s logo. I have to say that we LOVED the market, but the city was not the most fun. It was bloody cold, for one thing. Civil Service town, I guess.

    That said, few markets measure up to Byward, even during the week when there aren’t any farmers. I really miss the Glebe Butcher, too…and the bagel joint across Bank Street from there…and the street hot dogs…

    Sigh.

  • Ms. Glaze

    I just moved to New York and I’m all into this whole “delivery” concept. Do you think they’ll start doing that at the Union Square market?!? Forgive me, I’ve been shlepping groceries for the last 4 years…

    But seriously, farmer’s markets are the way to go. Not just because it averages out price wise, but because it’s also a great way to support farmer’s directly, eat seasonally, and cut down on fuel wasted on international and continental transportation.

  • cybercita

    today i paid three dollars and fifteen cents for four small apples at the union square greenmarket in new york.

    even in new york that caused me a bit of sticker shock, but they are such crunchy, floral, juicy, sweet and sour apples that i can be philosophical about the ridiculous amount of money they cost. the same for the insanely delicious tristar strawberries i buy every chance i get, despite the four dollars and fifty cents i have to pay — sometimes i eat the whole pint while i’m shopping and then have to double back for more. that’s nine bucks. sometimes i wonder if i should be eating such healthy food, because at those prices i’m spending my retirement money on groceries and i can’t afford to live too long.

    my only consolation is that whole paycheck, the only other market in the area with a decent selection of organic produce, is just as pricey and i don’t have the relationships with the workers there that i’ve developed over the years with some of the vendors at the market.

  • Stephani

    Unfortunately, the farmer’s market in Akron is just terrible. I remember when it was fabulous, but that was at least four years ago. Now I go directly to a farm–MUCH cheaper, less crowded, and great produce!

  • Kate in the NW

    Hey – those kids in strollers are getting indoctrinated so the next geeration will support Farmer’s Markets too! Inconvenience is a small price to pay…

    And speaking of small prices (or not…), I think it just feels so much better to hand my money to a farmer than a corporation. Even if you end up paying $10-$20 more (per trip, for a family of four) than the grocery store, it’s still cheaper than going to a movie – plus, it’s excercise, entertainment, and education. I think of it as a “good life, happy planet” tax – one I’m more than willing to pay.

    Even if it means eating less meat!

  • Sylvie, Rappahannock Cook & Kitchen Gardener

    $25 for a 5 pound duck, that’s $5.00 a pound – or what I would pay at Whole Food – or Giant – for Duck: $4.99/lb + taxes (and the ones they sell at Giant has been injected with some kind of saline solution – ehuw!

    The prices you quite Michael sound comparable to supermarkets for food of that quality in a large city.

    I used to do most of my grocery shopping at Farmers’ markets when I lived in the city (except for things like flour and other dry stuff – and cheese, because the selection was very limited). Now that I moved to the country, the closest farmers’ market (Warrenton, VA) is more than 25 miles away, is small and is no longer a producer only market – so why bother?

    Instead we grow all of our herbs, most of our vegetables and some fruit; make our own bread (buying flour in 50 pound bags) and pick up fruit at local orchards and meat and poultry directly at the farm (small operations raising pastured only animal). Buying in bulk, freezing and otherwise processing is really putting us in control of our food. And it tastes as it should.

  • Ben

    I’m now back on the farmer’s market horse… went to the main market in downtown Nashville today and made out like a bandit. 20lbs of “canner” tomatoes, 3lbs of apples, half a pound of concord grapes, 7 ears of corn and a big bunch of basil… for all of $16.50!

    Much cheaper than any other option in town.

  • Coop

    I see all the people posting about the Hollywood and Santa Monica Farmer’s markets – I usually hit the Larchmont Farmers Market on Sunday mornings. But I was wondering – does anyone sell duck at either the Santa Monica or Hollywood ones?

    Ruhlmans talk of duck legs made me hungry.

  • Kerrie

    I would love to go to these markets you all go to. I’m in suburbia, but right before it gets rural, and have many farms within a few miles of my house. I’d say the farmer’s market is almost twice as expensive as the store. We do go every week and get produce, but I cannot afford to buy all that I want, and while I totally agree that it all tastes much fresher and better, I can’t afford to be paying $7 for a dozen eggs, when at the store they are less than $2/dozen. We often go to several in the area, and they all are miles more expensive than even the upscale specialty market.

    I will say I get a great deal on rhubarb, but that is it, I’m afraid. Here’s hoping when DH gets transferred, we end up somewhere near these magical markets, and I can stop being jealous.

  • alicia carrier

    man, it is driving me crazy- because i know that i have seen an actual “farmer’s market bag cart” thing, that basically looks like a crazy cane with wheels, and it has a couple of hooks to hang those goofy market bags on it. i googled and couldn’t find anything that matches what i’m talking about, but i swear they exist.

    but whatever, i’m another stroller-wielder. luckily, here in portland, everyone else has one too, it’s like bumper cars.

    i went to the farmer’s market this morning, and i was so happy! i don’t usually get to go because i work saturday mornings, but whenever i do, it’s one of my favorite things.

  • Karin (Grew up in Cleveland and miss it in VA)

    To expand on Sylvie from Rappahannock – Living 80 mi west of D.C., NOTHING is centrally located.

    I do shop my farmer’s markets but for the most part, each one has a specific specaltiy. They may have a few other items as an afterthought.

    The peaches were extratordinary and now the apples are starting. Winchester, Va IS the apple capital. But, if I want corn or tomatoes, back into the car to the next farm market. 10 mi. drive minimum.

    Rappahannock county VA – where Sylvie lives is not only beautiful, but is known for specialty organic farms and cheeses. They too are all separately located.

    I used to drive from my western suburb to the Westside Market in less than 15 min. Hell, with the current price of gas, I could have taken the bus.

    Despite the inconvenience, I still search out my farmers. Their prices are more than fair for superior quality and their gas costs are as ugly as mine.

    As for filling in the gaps with the local megamarts, don’t get me started!

  • Karin (Grew up in Cleveland and miss it in VA)

    P.S. Alicia
    French market basket on wheels – http://www.vintageweave.com.

    Not the cane handled one, I think I saw a small ad for those in the back of some food magazines, but still an authentic style.

  • Carter Lusher

    “I need a shopping cart”

    I use the Hook & Go when visiting the farmers’ markets in Palo Alto and Menlo Park on the San Francisco Peninsula (BTW, great markets). It folds up easily and relatively small so I keep it in the car all the time. Use it with reusable nylon bags or saved plastic bags.

    http://www.hookandgo.com/

  • Maura

    I feel like I should be grouchy about all the strollers at our farmer’s market (because they usually drive me crazy), but I love to see our little market crammed with people and kids and dogs, and the strollers are just part of that. The market in Durham has grown from a dozen vendors 10 years ago to around 65. Still small, but it’s been a true community effort, a labor of love and a huge success. It was entirely open air until last summer, when a pavilion was built with funds from residents and local businesses. It’s already grown out of the pavilion. OK, this sounds like a press release. I’m just a customer, really.

    There’s a much larger market in Raleigh, but it’s 25 miles away, and it doesn’t have a limit on how far away a vendor can be located in order to have a stall there. (Durham’s requires that all vendors conduct business within 70 miles of the market, and that the business be located in NC.)

    Most of our produce buying is divided between the market and a small, locally owned grocery store that’s two blocks away from our house. Much of the produce at the store is local, and very cheap. But, even though the local tomatoes there are a lot less expensive (.99/lb compared to $2.85), it’s worth it to me to buy them from the market. I’ll pay whatever I have to for great tomatoes.

  • luis

    Ms. Glaze, Glaze I try to think of you 30 yrs from now… So far…other than a very succesful chef…for sure. Nothing else resonates….. keep up the great work and don’t get tied down to one cuisine. I was dragged down to Van Dykes in sofl close to sobe… Alton Road you know….
    we were walking and walking..and these gourgeous babes kept pulling me in to their restaurants…and my people kept pulling me out of them… At Van Dykes… the food was great the prices were cheap and the gard mange whispered in my ear the food would be out in no time. And it was.
    Great Great food done right and cheap. Cha Ching…What a great place… 4 people under 100$…and four happy customers.
    I had the Phylly cheese steak…. fabulous.
    The menu was very eclectic but the thing was it delivered something to everyone quickly!. It rocked!. The point??? you ask??? El Bulli sits what ? sixty? one hundred? dinners per day???
    In the brief time I was there Van Dykes served that many…happy customers. Talk about going to the FARMERS MARKET… This would be the thing IF I ever have a biz like that!. Count me in!!!!!! farms….1000%

  • Heather

    NYCook: It’s crazy the way the chanterelles grow. I mean I’ll be walking my dog in the forest behind my house, I notice them around several kinds of trees. Mostly, the pine/fir?? Wasn’t sure at first so got out a field guide to make sure and…there they were. I bet if someone spent..2 hours in the woods they’d find at least a few pounds with little effort.

  • Charlotte

    We have a seasonal farmer’s market here in the summers — ends 9/24 — the problem was that this year the whole season was so wonky that there just wasn’t that much produce available. Meat you can find — lamb, pork, grass-fed beef — chickens from the Hutterites, but the produce was just slow this year. Last year there were peppers and eggplants and good tomatoes — this year — greens and beans for the most part.

  • Shannon

    Hello, fellow Clevelander. You want tasty AND cheap, you need to get in on the Noble Pheasant Farm CSA for next year — http://noblepheasantfarm.com — organic and tasty as hell. Bob’s growing tomatoes I didn’t even know EXISTED, and which aren’t even being grown by other CSAs because they crack and are tricky. Best of all? picking stuff up every week at the Sachsenheim. Veg + German beer = great.

  • Kirk

    My favorite farm at the Carrboro NC Farmers’ Market charges $5.00/lb for whole chickens. I love the birds, I love the farm, I love the farmer but seldom can I make the splurge for a $20+ bird. Other farmers at the market price chicken around $4.50/lb. Local co-ops, Fresh Markets and Whole Foods offer free-range, organic, locally raised (NC or VA)chicken for $1.99/lb – $3.50/lb. All of the birds I buy taste great. Can I tell the difference between the $20 and $14 chicken? Not really. How much is too much to pay for chicken?

  • luis

    I tried lemon grass the other day…. probably in the wrong dish.. but I don’t see what the big deal is???? I will look for dishes that specifically require lemon grass…but generally spices and herbs hit me like a two by four. To just not notice it… that’s not good. Every thing in my kitchen pulls its own weight.. everything. or else… is gone!

  • luis

    Kirk speaking of chickens….. tried making chicken wings and tried and tried…. Somehow I haven’t really been pleased to date with any technique or result. Bummer!!!! help me Michael….

  • brandon_w

    I love the Farmer’s Market and my CSA. Here in Madison we have the biggest Farmer’s Market in the country along with smaller ones throughout the city. I usually take some pictures when I go down to the big market on the square. You can see some of my pictures here if you are into food porn:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/brandon_w/sets/72157605833747296/

    My CSA includes meat, it’s been great enjoying grassfed burgers all summer, along with pork and lamb.

  • ikate

    I love the NS farmer’s market and am at the Shaker location every saturday, stroller and all! The food is so much better and we eat in more often when we load up there as opposed to the Giant Eagle down the street. The corn and tomatos this year are fantastic!

    The one thing I can’t stand, though, are all the people there with dogs when there are several signs clearly stating NO DOGS!

  • Mr Long

    You white people so fools to buy food at gwai lo supermarkets. You pay stupid price so rich cats get richer. You need to go to Asian Market. It smell bad at times, but things much cheap than rip me off stores. Farmers market is a fools market.

    Garlic $1.50 head ? You stupid.Old hippy not, cause he make you look like a fool.

    American kids are fat becuase parents feed them slop.Not too many fat Asian kids. Asian kids eat from Asian Markets. No french fry every day.Only rice. Eat rice.Live longer.

  • Maura

    @ Kirk: “My favorite farm at the Carrboro NC Farmers’ Market charges $5.00/lb for whole chickens. I love the birds, I love the farm, I love the farmer but seldom can I make the splurge for a $20+ bird.”

    It’s the same in Durham, Kirk. At first it sounded good – *only* 5$/lb. That’s cheap compared to what beef and pork cost there. Then I did the multiplication. Not so good. Some things I can splurge on. The greens cost more at the market, but not so much that it’s prohibitive. Lyon’s Farms strawberries are worth every penny I spend on them. But $20-25 for a chicken is more than I can justify, or afford.

    The Carrboro market is wonderful (as is the town). You have a much larger selection than we do in Durham. But Carrboro is a special trip for us. Maybe it shouldn’t be, but with the time and the gas, it makes more sense to go to the Durham market.

  • Mr Long

    What fool can no make chicken wing. Mr Luis, you need to go to local Chinatown and ask for special chicken wing. Easy cooking to.

    Buy arm portion, not drumette, taste better.

    Chinese people like chicken arm pieces.You need to purchase best soy sauce to make good chicken.

    Cant cook chicken wing go to Hooters, they good there.

  • luis

    Long…it’s not so much that I can’t make the chicken wings… but the real issue is that I don’t usually have them after they cook. I pack them in my lunch bag and have them five hours later or so.
    Then the crispy tasty chicken wings.. eggrolls or what have you taste not so great anymore. This problem transcends your typical run of the mill standard answer.
    I am converging on the notion that cooking for the sit down and eat it now! is a world apart from the cook it now and eat it five hrs later!.
    That is a modern coooks riddle and opens a door into a whole new different type of food prep. I wish I could pack the Coleman and the food and cook it and eat it right then and there… but millions and millions of folks like me DON”T HAVE THE OPTION!!!!!!!!!
    OBTW by the time I get home….fergetit aboutit….. It’s a glass o’ vino and nighty night….

  • luis

    OBTW Long… I haven’t developed much of a taste for soy sauce. or ketchup or bbq sauce… I think they screw up the subtle flavors of meats and veggies… In a world in which I can buy darn great cuts of meat, fish and veggies… I want REAL sauces that enhance the flavors. Not LOUD obnoxious overpowering sauces that highjack and mask the subtle flavors of the plate.
    But I admit that I have several soy sauces and chinese oils laying around and perhaps some day I might learn to use them to elevate a dish rather than to bury it to where a trained hound couldn’t pick up its scent.

  • Nancy

    I shop every Saturday at San Francisco’s Ferry Plaza farmer’s market – it’s, overall, slightly more spendy than the Alemany Market, but the secret is to only shop outside. Besides the quality, it’s often more economical than grocery store shopping because produce lasts longer if it’s truly fresh and not recently liberated from god-knows-how-long in-cold storage. Loose baby greens from Safeway won’t last as long as the same greens from Marin Sun Farms’ stand.

  • Mathias Eichler

    Didn’t read all the comments and I’m late to the game (post) sorry.
    But I want to add a couple of things to the Farmer’s Market shopping dilemma.
    For one: if you can get a CSA share, that will cut down on the amount on vegetables you have to lug around with you and you support the Farmers directly.

    Second: a really good carrying bag is essential for shopping at the Farmer’s Market. There is this company from Germany that makes shopping baskets that even men can carry. Contact me, if you’re interested in more info, this is not supposed to be some lame advertising.

  • amber

    we have a small organic market a few miles from our house that i’ve been to a few times. my cooking has slowed down b/c of other obligations that are taking up all my time, so i’ve only bought a few things. however, i love walking through and seeing all the beautiful produce for prices that are very competitive with grocery stores, but for much better product.

    that picture of your loot is really beautiful.