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This Little Piggy Went to Market…

I just got back from visiting the Aylmer and the St. Thomas farmers’ markets.  The one thing that I miss about being a CSA member is going to market, and I’m glad that this year I’ve been able to sign up for the Tuesday pick-up so that I can still go to Saturday market.  The bustle and friendliness of these places are just so wonderful, and I really miss the experience on weeks that I don’t go.  Today was the first market day I’ve made since early May, and in fact just the second one this season.  I will be going most Saturdays from now on, however, as I don’t expect to be traveling on weekends for some time (as I keep saying, mostly in an attempt to make it come true I think!)

I started by going to the Aylmer market because this is where I wish to buy the bulk of my purchases.  This market is only three years old, is small, and is still trying to build up a following.  I also like going there because there is at least one stand that offers a nice variety of organic vegetables.  Today I bought strawberries (3 quarts), 3 zucchinis, a quart snow peas, a head of lettuce, a bunch beets and one cucumber from them.  The cost: $16.50, most of which was for the strawberries.  A pretty good deal in my opinion, considering it is all local, organic and sold by very nice people.  There’s something in the experience of buying at farmers’ markets that, to me, adds tremendous value to what I am purchasing.  A value that can’t be found in supermarket foods.

I poked around the rest of the market and ended up buying three quarts of pod peas, two pints of raspberries and a quart of new potatoes.  I really hesitated over the potatoes as the pesticide load on non-organic potatoes is pretty scary.  But I’ve been craving potatoes all week, and I’m hoping (fooling myself?) that the little, new ones might not be as toxic.  They sure look tasty.  Next week my organic stand will have potatoes and I’ll stick to organic ones for the rest of the season.  Potatoes and apples are two of the worst foods for pesticide use.  Naturally they are two of the easiest to get locally, something I struggle with in the heart of winter.  I’m glad I can put that debate aside for a few months, starting next week.

If you’re interested in learning more about what’s on your food, here is a great website that explains the pesticide residue on most common foods found in our food system.

I am now having a cup of tea (and writing in this blog) to rest up before tackling the mountain of food I just brought home.  I also hope to do some work in the garden.  Today is chore day, and while I hope to do some writing in the evening, I intend on spending the afternoon getting on top of my house.  There’s much to do in addition to food processing: laundry, compost emptying (which should have been done a month ago), and soem garden weeding.  While I didn’t buy any more food at the St. Thomas market, and just drove there to see what they had to offer, I did end up buying a couple of perennial flowers for the garden.  Why, I don’t know.  Despite my promise to myself to just “let it go” when it comes to the yard, I couldn’t resist buying these pretty plants. I don’t even know what they’re called, but they are a variety of black-eyed Susan that will spread easily and add a lot of colour.  I will be able to dig some up and bring them with me when I move, and leave enough behind to keep the garden pretty.

The main reason I bought these flowers is because I had such a lovely discussion with their grower.  In addition to the two daisies, I also bought a deep purple calla lilly for the house.  They are not from a big nursery full of anonymous plants.  He clearly has a passion for his plants, and had carefully and tenderly raised each one.  I had only been looking, but walked away with an arm full of plants after our pleasant chat.  There’s something about the person to person interaction that, as I said before, makes these purchase more enjoyable and special.  I can’t put my finger on why, but I do look forward to visiting his nursery to see the rest of his collection.  And no doubt, I’ll be coming home with more plants when I do.

On that note, I had best get going on the garden and in the kitchen.  I certainly have my work cut out for me!

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One Response

  1. I’ve just started going to the farmer’s market at Masonville, and I’ve left happy each time – good organic and local food (and some plants), friendly and knowledgeable people, and it’s within biking distance of home for me. I really get what you’re talking about in terms of added value – I have a hard time defining exactly what it is, but the market…well, it kind of blisses me out, which is a rather lovely way to start a weekend of dissertation work and housekeeping.

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