Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Big Diva at the Farmer's Market

   After my first fast, I'd made a decision to live a healthier lifestyle.  I craved fresh fruit and vegetables, but my kitchen was full of junk, processed and fattening foods.  I knew that I needed to make a drastic change.  I felt differently in my heart, but if I left my kitchen as it was, there was a chance that I would go back to eating those things.  So, I gutted it. 

I tossed all expired foods and donated everything else that I didn't plan to eat.  Even things that I thought were healthy, like certain low sodium soups, contained things that weren't so good.  This is why reading the ingredients is important.  According to Dr. Oz, the first 5 ingredients are probably the most important, because they make up most of what is in your food.  It was an eye opener what I found in some things I'd bought.

Now that the kitchen was bare, I needed to restock it with healthy options, but healthy and organic foods are so expensive.  A heart attack in a bag is cheap and easy, but organics and healthy food can make you broke.  Trader Joe's doesn't always cut it in the price department, but they have pretty good choices.  Whole Foods might as well take your entire paycheck for 5 items. 

I decided to try out my local farmer's market.  It's actually a flea / farmer's market with all kinds of vendors and it's been around forever.  When I was little, my grandmother and grandfather would take my sister and I there to get fresh roasted peanuts, salt water taffy, and eat breakfast.  It always smelled like a country kitchen.  It still smells like one to this day. 

It had been so long since I'd been there, but not much had changed.  They still had the salt water taffy, fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and freshly squeezed juices.  From the time that I stepped foot in there, I had this overall feeling of warmth and goodness.  The people are polite and helpful and there is a great variety of stores and products.

One of the best things about this place is that the farmers are local.  They tend not to use pesticides and other chemicals, because it takes a shorter time to get produce from their farms to the market.  They don't need to preserve their produce for long cross country trips.  Local farmers sell quality produce at cheaper prices.  By supporting them, we're supporting our local communities.

I went was to purchase fruit and veggies first.  Two huge reusable Target bags full of produce came to less than $60.  Besides the regular stuff, (apples, oranges, etc.), they had fresh whole pineapples, kiwis, mangoes, and more.  With prices so low, I was able to afford to try something new. 

Next, I went off to the meat counter where I picked up some smoked maple turkey bacon, which had to be the BEST turkey bacon I've ever had.  Across the aisle was the cheese counter where I picked up some goat cheese and cajun cream cheese with lobster and crabs.  I also grabbed some almond butter, whole flaxseed, chia seed, jasmine and saffron rice, big bags of pretzel crisps, freshly squeezed orange and pineapple juice, and dried strawberries.  I ate like a queen for weeks:  steamed salmon and asparagus, smoothies and fresh fruit and vegetable juices, creative salads, and healthy snacks.  I have to say that I am forever a fan and search for farmer's markets in different cities to find healthy food and great deals.

Do you go to farmer's markets?  What's been your best find?

6 comments:

  1. Beyond the health aspects, there is a movement to buy local as a means to build community and improve the environment by reducing the transportation costs of fresh produce. Food has become one more cog in the wheel of globalization and buying local is a strong political statement, both for yourself healthwise, the local economy and the environment.

    Go Pillowz!

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  2. Hi and thank you for commenting! You are so right about that. Buying local definitely builds the community and helps the environment. It is important that we have and continue to support alternative food options, because current big box producers of foods are not telling us the truth about what we are eating and slowly killing us in the process.

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  3. I totally agree w/ Guilty Pleasures.
    I LOVE BOOTHS CORNER!!! In fact, my "work mother" & I go just about every Friday on our lunch break. Their stuff is so fresh, & on my "cheat day," I dabble into the delicious cooked foods or desserts.
    I have also found another spot closer to where I live in NJ. It's called the Amish Market.
    www.amishmarketmullicahill.com They are as good as Booths Corner.

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  4. What?! I am so there! I will have to kidnap my sister and make a trip soon. Thank you for the link!! I'm looking for a place to get good fresh fish. Do you know of a place?

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  5. LOL. Not a problem at all.
    I don't know of any fish places. I'm looking for one as well. I used to live in NY, & what I miss is the fish market. SMH.

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  6. Reading Terminal in Center City has fish spots, but I've never gotten any from there. My sister swears by the Italian Market in South Philly. I would like to find a place closer to me though. Booth Corners and South Jersey are my lane. :-)

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