Monday, May 25, 2009

Fresh Off The Farm

There’s a satisfaction I get out of cheating the local grocery chain out of albeit, even just a few of my dollars.

Not that I don’t support local commerce, it’s quite the contrary. When you can buy straight from the source, and skip the middle man, there’s a satisfaction that makes my heart sing. Especially, when the source provided you with the freshest, best tasting produce around…it kinda makes ya wonder??? Why aren’t all my meals this yummy???

It’s not that I am the best cook in the world. Yes, it’s true…I take pride in preparing special meals for myself, quite frequently. But the frank truth is, a lot of my meals are pretty average. Quite often than not, I make something pretty darn scrumptious, and yet some are experiments that leave me wondering…what the heck was I thinking???

But in all honesty, last weeks farmer’s market purchases were definitely delectable, and yet they were so simply prepared. The long and short of it was, I steamed the leeks, sautéed the fennel and roasted the beets. That’s it! Not only did I successfully expand my vegetable repertoire, but I got a few new recipes, and learned a thing or two in the cooking process. Remember, never before had I ventured out and cooked those particular veggies, and yet they were pretty damn delicious. This left me in a quandary that I just couldn’t shake. Was the grocery store produce I bought all these years that sub-standard as compared to my farmers market finds? Inquiring minds wanted to know!

I spent the next few days researching grocery store produce versus those grown organically or environmentally sustaining. After all, organic is supposed to be better…right??? Although I am very early in my research stages, the one thing that I found repeated throughout my early findings…grocery store produce is less nutrious than those that are grown organically-friendly.

“University of Texas, Austin, claims the average vegetable found in today's supermarket is anywhere from 5% to 40% lower in minerals (including magnesium, iron, calcium and zinc) than those harvested just 50 years ago. Not only are those vegetables you been eating at the grocery store less tasty, but may be getting marginal nutritional value. They discuss some of the potential factors in this including use for synthetic fertilizer and the desire to achieve higher yield during a shorter timetable, unfortunately the poor plants do not have time to absorb the beneficial minerals.

Out of shear curiosity, I went back to my Pearl Farmers Market. This time I was smart enough to arrive at opening, for a much more expansive selection. I wanted to be able to buy items that I purchased quite frequently, in an effort to make comparisons. This time,I was able to get my hands on summer squash, zucchini, and tilapia, which are all regulars in my normal repertoire. Of course, curiosity did get the best of me, as I just had to have bi-colored butter squash as well as the flying saucer looking, scaloppini squash, named so for its naturally scalloped edge. I had never had either…so I just had to try my hand at them. $5.00 for twelve pieces of squash and $9.00 four pieces of organically farmed tilapia. Bargains? I’d say so! And considering that they did not disappoint…I can safely say that I was the one who made out like a bandit! And for the record, my Pearl Market finds blew my grocery store produce out of the water!

Excited about my findings, I made the decision to buy the remainder of foods that I needed for the week, as fresh and all natural, as those of my farmers market finds. I got early up on Sunday and drove 18 miles to a grocery store that specializes in fresh, organic and all natural products…not unlike that of the WHOLE FOODS chain. (For the record, there is also a Whole Foods here, but it is 21 miles away.) $104.71 later, I have almost everything I need for the week…and I am second guessing my decision, as I am packing my FOUR environmentally-friendly, reusable, eco bags into the trunk of my car. And at that very moment, I was truly grateful for not having the family of four I wanted in my early-twenties!!!

For those interested is seeing the final results of my "Pearl's Market Finds," here's a link... that you can click ...or you might need to cut and paste into your browser.

1 comment:

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