Monday, June 30, 2008

Farmer's Market...

Supermarkets are pretty appalling in America, when you compare them to Sainsburys or Tescos or the wonderful French hypermarches like E.LeClerc.

They're dingy, dirty and the range of produce is pretty miserable. There's nothing like the 'ready meals' Sainsburys are so good at and things just look dirtier.

But, I quickly learnt, you learn to overlook your European shopping-snobbery when you pop into the local Spanish bogeda next door, which trades dirty for filthy and throws in a side order of smelly as well.

I'm not too fussed. The average American supermarket is no scarier than a French market, which would have most hygiene obsessed Americans reaching for their hand sanitizer.

Which is why, this weekend, Tina and I decided to break away from the neat, homogenized safety of shrink-wrapped American food and risk 'the wild' of the local farmer's market.

Farmer's markets in America aren't like 'farmer's markets' in England. We used to have the most wonderful Farmer's Market every second Sunday, which took over most of Winchester's pedestrian precinct and sold delicious, but expensive, produce produced locally.

The farmer's market we went to this weekend was more of a shop - or a warehouse, specifically, which had rows of wooden shelves brimming with freshly picked New Jersey vegetation.

Carrots. Spinach. Even parsnips (oh, how I've missed them!) And, astonishingly, it was all a lot cheaper than the local supermarket - and even cheaper than the wholesale shop we get our groceries from!

Plus it's all fresh, delicious and hasn't been shipped all the way from Mexico.

Tina and I bought $50 worth of vegetables (at the local supermarket) for $26 and they were utterly delicious. The only thing worrying was how corn - which was 19c an ear when I first arrived - has already climbed to 50c.

Ethanol or popcorn? Will America have to make this choice? Will I?

In any event, I'm very happy we decided to go the hippy, Prius, tree-hugging route (as some of our incredulous friends describe it) and check out the farmer's market. It's brilliant!


for a different kind of girl said...

This makes me jump up and put a sticky note on the calendar to remind myself to no longer skip the giant downtown farmers market every Saturday. I'd be in heaven!

EmmaK said...

our local Baltimore farmers market is more of a rip-off....exactly the same stuff as in Giant but twice the price, plus you have to get up too early! Good for you that you found a really good one that sells fresh local cheap produce.

Coffee Bean said...

We only have a farmer's market for a very short time in the summer. It should be starting soon... and is actually within walking distance of my home. However, I can't carry everything I buy when I go. We are at such a high altitude that the growing season is very short here (Colorado).

We just got back from vacation and I was wondering if y'all had your baby yet!??! I quickly scrolled through the posts below and see that I am going to have to come back and read some things more closely when I have time!