3.16.2009

Be A Local Hero

Our local farmer's market association has a slogan: Be a local hero. Buy Placer-grown.

rainbow chard

It's quite an empowering message. I believe in spending money as local as possible, and living near an agricultural community means I can buy a lot of food that has been grown locally. I've mentioned before how much I love our farmer's market, but I find that I run hot and cold on going every Saturday. With our new and improved way of eating, I'm hoping to make the farmer's market a regular habit.

rainbow chard

I realized last year while strolling the aisles of a craft fair that one of the reasons I run cold on the farmer's market is the same reason I'm not a big fan of craft fairs - it's a very intimate experience. When shopping at a craft fair or farmer's market, you are dealing directly with the supplier of the product. So when I choose not to buy something from a particular stand, I almost feel that I'm rejecting the supplier of the product. I'm sure I'm reading way too much into this exchange; I'm prone to over thinking. I just can't help it that I feel bad when I don't buy samosas from the friendly lady at the Indian food stand.

But I'm ready to move to the next level with the farmer's market. I'm making a commitment to go every Saturday. Armed with my cloth shopping bags and a twenty dollar bill (because that's my budget), I'm going to be a local hero. I'm also going to photograph what I bring home, because really the produce is so pretty that I can't help but take a picture. Here's my loot from the last two Saturdays.

farmer's market booty, week 1

farmer's market booty, week 2

Not pictured is the meat I bought from a local rancher (which happens to be a little out of my budget, but he's willing to barter on occasion for homebrew). After making my purchase last Saturday and getting tips on cooking beef stock from bones, the rancher gave me a hug. Yes, shopping at the farmer's market can be a very intimate experience. The rancher and I now have a standing date.

One more local tip (for my local friends): I highly recommend Lundberg rice pasta. We had spaghetti for dinner last night and I must have said "thank goodness" about ten times while eating. I was nervous about rice pasta, having had a not so good experience in the past, but I could hardly tell the difference between Lundberg rice spaghetti and traditional spaghetti noodles. It's local too - Lundberg Family Farms is less than 70 miles away. This local hero is going to stock up today while it's on sale at Raley's.

32 comments:

  1. You have a really good point about how intimate a Farmers Market, Craft Fair...or even garage sale is!
    I've never really thought about it that way, but I think you may have just made me realize why I feel the same way you do! I always feel SO guilty for not buying!

    We are moving to Ohio in a couple weeks, and I already looked into when the Farmer's markets season starts! I'm so excited to go this year!!
    I look forward to seeing your weekly photos!

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  2. It is pretty... I just love pretty veggies :) seriously. Maybe I can join you at the market one morning. I love it, but I also love sleeping in and being lazy on Saturdays.

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  3. Molly, again, you're right on. I have the same guilt about walking away empty handed from someone. Last time at the indoor market I actually brought home a strip of ground beef jerky because they had said hi to me as I was walking by their table.
    I love our market-both the indoor in the winter and the summer one, too-and I've actually made two good friends there. But, it gets really expensive for me. Really expensive: like, pie, pork chops, goat cheese, tapenade, two dozen eggs expensive.
    So I feel happy and virtuous, but wiped out.
    Good luck with your food journey!

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  4. I totally agree with you. And actually, I felt the same way on the other side of the booth when I handmade a line of handbags to sell last summer. I had poured my heart into my products, and I had to toughen up my skin to sit out there at the craft fair and watch people finger the purses and sometimes walk away without saying a word or making eye contact. But, maybe if there were more buying and selling going on this way, where there was human, face-to-face interaction, there would be less manufactured useless crap in the world, as people would care about the exchange.

    Those are some fat carrots! Love em!

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  5. I also feel weird walking away without buying anything at the farmer's market. Especially at a littler one, where there's not so many customers.

    And I am ridiculously impressed that you got all of that for under $20. The farmer's markets here usually aren't much cheaper than the grocery store -- darn expensive land values in the Bay area, I guess!

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  6. Yum! I can't wait until our Farmer's Market opens up for the year.

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  7. Lundberg is the best - but I've never tried the pasta. Thanks for the recommendation. I'll try it for sure! Shopping at Raleys is supporting local too. Gold star for you guys.

    I too feel the guilt. You make me laugh. I thought it was just me. But it looks like your readers are just as bad!

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  8. I feel the exact same way...I cannot wait for the farmers market to be full of local goodness!

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  9. Today was a raw day for me, and I had forgotten how much I truly enjoy it, how my body feels when given the stuff it really needs. You just inspired me to start making the farmers market a regular weekly stop for me as well. Thank you Molly!

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  10. True it is an intimate experience..

    You did AWESOME for $20.

    I like that the local grower can look you in the eye and tell you about what you are buying and how and where it was grown....I think they realize you may not buy today, but you might next time..or even next year. Don't feel bad about not buying though.
    Have a great week! ~Karen

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  11. Yes! I feel just that way at craft fairs and farmers markets and like Hannah pointed out, garage sales too. I feel like a big jerk for not buying it all!

    I think we're going to try to get back on the farmers market trail too. I just feel like with times so tight, I want to hand my money to real people, you know? Not industries.... who I guess you could argue employ real people, but still.

    Anyhow, good haul!, and um, nice booty ;-)

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  12. I get that same guilty feeling at the farmer's market. That is one reason that I love the CSA! I also love Trader Joe's brown rice pasta - delish and super cheap.

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  13. I agree with you about markets - I LOVE them but I tend to look whilst standing back somewhat as if I get too close I almost feel compelled to buy. That's another reasons I very rarely taste samples - unless I know I'm going to buy, for the same reason of having to effectively say through my actions that I don't like their product.

    I am also wondering if I've made a mistake having signed up for a craft stall at my daughter's school fete - I don't know if I could handle anyone criticising my dolls or worse the price of them in front of me!

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  14. we don't go to the farmers market because we don't have one close by our home. driving 30 minutes to get to a nice one - kinda takes the "being green" out of it for me. I do use a local organic delivery company that I can choose what produce I receive. They indicate what farm/location each item comes from. it is wonderful.

    guess what else? we now have six baby chicks. chick sisters unite : )

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  15. Wow! Great haul for $20! I average closer to $35 plus meat plus $5 per kid to spend at the rock lady or on something else fun that they can't resist.

    What we don't buy are the prepared foods. I try to buy from as many veggie stands as I can, but I pass the other stuff by without guild.

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  16. Did I spot fresh brussle sprouts(fave!)? Very envious right now, our bulbs are just starting to show here in the NW. Enjoy the local hero's green fuel. Yum

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  17. I hear ya. It can be awkward to stand at someone's booth and not make a purchase, but no one wants their food to go to waste right? If you're not going to eat it...

    On another note, samosas at the farmers market? Lucky!

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  18. I am amazed at what you managed to purchase with only $20! That is fantastic.

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  19. Your farmers market must be more affordable than mine! That's quite a haul for $20!

    Yes, it is an intimate experience, and I know how you feel with the feeling of rejecting certain vendors. But at the same time, the feeling of having a relationship with the vendors that you do decide to buy from is invaluable, to me.

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  20. wow, it all looks amazing. I fully understand where you are coming from with " the rejection " . Unfortunately we don't have a farmers market .. you are lucky to have a choice
    lisa x

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  21. GORGEOUS photos. And for $20 ... wow.

    Great ideas -- we are thinking about a local CSA also ...

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  22. Molly, when I commented yesterday I didn't realize I was using my son's profile. anyways, if you want to see my chicks visit: dmoms.blogspot.com

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  23. Our farmers markets are too expensive for me which is a darn shame. I would love to buy local but we are on a strict budget and I just can't splurge on fresh local veggies :(. Maybe when we have an income again.

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  24. this inspires me to get back to shopping our local farmers market.

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  25. I quite agree with you about the farmer's market experience. Hey, but you got a good haul for $20!

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  26. OK, Im off to go find the pasta you recommended. We are a bit frustrated here as far as pasta goes. S will be thrilled that there is something better.

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  27. Hear, hear - I know exactly how you feel. It probably feels a little bit like that on the other side of the table too. Not wanting to come across as too eager (or desperate) and also knowing how much work and effort went into their product.
    But the glorious stuff you can get, not to mention a hug from your meat man. How many food consumers can say that?

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  28. Years ago I always felt so guilty for not buying anything but after having a few garage sales and also renting an area at an antique shop - I've met so many people. Nice people. Some of those may not have bought anything but I always made the effort to say hello, be genuine and helpful. That way when they walked away - and didn't buy anything... I knew that I made a good impression that just might bring them back the next time. And as a vendor, I realize that not everything I have to sell is exactly what they are looking for but I may have something the next time. Kind and courteous go a long ways. Like your meat man. How awesome is that?!

    I'm looking forward to your weekly loot photos. They are beautiful and bountiful!

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  29. 20 bucks goes much further at your FM than mine! And hugs?! lucky girl

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  30. we have recently committed ourselves to haunting the local farmer's market much more often as well!

    that is sooo cool that you bartered homebrewed for beef. love that. learning to homebrew is on my list. i'm currently making plum wine, but i'd really like to grow my own hops and make beer. take care!

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  31. I feel the same way about Farmer's Markets! I always feel so bad slinking away to "keep looking"! This year my husband and I are renting a booth at our Farmer's Market for the first time, so I get to be on the other end! I wonder if I will feel hurt every time someone just passes by without buying anything???? I guess I'll find out soon! I applaud you for making the resolution to go more often!

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  32. Now that the weather's getting nicer, there's no excuse for me not to walk 20 minutes to the downtown FM in Vallejo. Can I make a suggestion, based on my own experience? The farmers appreciate small bills, so take fives and ones intstead of a twenty.

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