Of Farmers’ Markets and Saving Money…

For the past two weeks I have gotten my produce and meat from a farmers’ market just down the road from my house.  The marketers call it a “European Style Market,” but there are farmers there, so a farmers’ market it must be.  It’s not a particularly large event.  It’s only open on Saturdays from 9am to 2pm – which kinda sucks sometimes (like this Saturday when I can’t make it, and will have to skip meat purchasing for a week).  There are a handful of produce suppliers, but only two meat stalls.  I won’t lie.  I chose the guys I go to now based more on mere chance than on merit.  The prices are about the same between everybody.  I guess these are nice farmers, and don’t want to start a price-war; it’s really not in their best interest to do so anyway.

So last week I bought five tomatoes, five small onions, and four or five zucchini.  The vegetable farmer had the zucchini in baskets with yellow squash, but I didn’t want the yellow squash.  It’s not that I don’t like yellow squash, but that I just don’t like to eat it often.  So I complimented the man on his zucchinis, and then asked if he had a basket of just zucchini.  He smiled, and took the yellow squash out of two baskets, and combined the zucchinis.  We were both happy.  So happy, that we both almost forgot about the money side of the transaction.  Whoops.  All that cost me seven bucks.

Then I went to my meat-man.  Can I call him that?  He sells, and raises, more than just cattle, so it seems strange to call him a rancher…. anyway.  So two weeks ago when I first went, I bought a whole chuck-roast, and a whole chicken.  This week, when I returned, they asked me how the meat grinding and chicken cutting went – I’ll post on that later this week; I have pictures!  I bought the whole roast and chicken because they are substantially cheaper.  We’re talking four bucks a pound for the whole chickens, and $4.75 for the beef.

I’m doing more than just stroking my notions of nostalgia and “good ole days.”  No, I’m learning to speak up and ask more questions.  I’ve learned to ask where the farms are.  To ask about how the product is raised.  To ask how it is processed.  I won’t lie, it’s nice to have people who recognize you when you buy things from them.  I think we all want people to recognize us; gives us a feeling of place.  Try your farmers’ market, and you may find all that, and some awesome food, too.

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