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Sunday, 28 September 2014

THE FARMERS MARKET

The passion and enthusiasm for good food is contagious at farmers markets.  You can't help but overhear excited vendors standing around in their muddy gumboots exchanging recipes or tips for keeping slugs at bay.  They've been up long before dawn harvesting vegetables, filling recycled egg cartons with fresh eggs, and loading baskets of fruit into the car.  It's still dark when they're setting up their stalls, and cold enough to see the condensation on their breath.  And yet despite occasionally rubbing their bleary red eyes, they're beaming.  Nobody is in it to make a quick buck, they just really, truly love what they do.

In many parts of the world the local town market is still where you go to do your main grocery shop.  The farmers are selling their homegrown vegetables, the butcher knows where his meat comes from and has personally cured the ham, the cheeses come in big wheels, the fish monger came straight from the docks and all the small specialty vendors are selling foods using the same recipes as their grandparents before them.  The air is electric, everybody is shouting their best price, haggling with shoppers and bidding the passerby to come and have a taste test.  Nothing has been sitting around on a supermarket shelf for two weeks or polished until it gleams.  Out of season vegetables haven't been flown half way around the world and fumigated on arrival.  And you're not met with the blank stare of an underpaid checkout attendant when you ask for cooking advice. What you really get at the markets is food with a soul.  It's going to taste more incredible than anything you'll get from a commercial grower.  It's inspiring you to cook beautiful food.

The crazy thing is that you often pay less for this privilege than you would at your local supermarket.  Aside from our (currently very sad looking) garden, the markets is our main source of fruit and vegetable and on an average week we spend about $20.  They may not be certified organic, but they're almost always spray free.   And yes I may have to spend an extra half hour at home washing everything and checking for wildlife but I think that's a pretty small price to pay*.  Really the only thing it requires is a bit of forethought and planning.
So what do you say?  Have I convinced you to break up with your supermarket vege isle?

*To help get rid of bugs in your vegetables just let them soak for a few minutes in a sink of water with a splash of vinegar it.

2 comments:

  1. I can't wait to shop at these markets once we're up in Auckland. Is this where you were saying that I should buy my kale from? Eeek, I don't have an account.. it's Mel Xx

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    1. Yup this is the place :). We go to the same vege seller every week here and have been for a few years now. This is mainly a flea market (pretty great flea market actually) but has a handful of fruit and vege sellers as well. We'll have to take you there when you move up. x

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