Farmer's Market Finds

I just got back to the city last night after being home since the Friday before Easter. I spent some awesome quality time with my family and while I was home, my house sold. It happened so quickly and it made sense just to stay home and clean out the rest of my place. My brother in law and I brought all my furniture to my Mom's vacation house and then also to my mom's non vacation house. And after not working out for a week, my arms are hurting! It was such a busy, fun weekend and all I feel is relief: relief that my house is selling and I can move on, relief we switched out all the furniture and my mom's vacation house got a makeover and relief that I can just move on and not worry about my condo in PA. Also relief that I got my taxes done and I did not want to jump off a bridge after filing!

Usually when I'm home, I don't eat healthy most of the time. My mom buys me alot of processed food like the fake meats and cheeses (I love them though!) and I don't get in my greens. There are not that many farmers markets around that have organic stuff so it can be a challenge. I'm away from my blender and food processor and I do alot more mindless eating. I also don't work out usually beyond taking my neph-dog for walks so I end up feeling blah. This time we did order from a farm to table restaurant that had an awesome spicy tofu kale salad (see below) that was super good. I ate alot of bananas and Clif bars too. I also don't walk nearly as much as I do here in the city because I have a car at home. I definitely want to work on being healthier when I visit my family.

This morning I woke up and made a trip to the Union Square farmer's market and bought a bunch of salad fixins. I bought lettuce that was mix and match and $2.50 for a 1/4 lb, a bunch of collard greens for $3.50 and a huge bag of spinach for $5. Sometimes the prices make me sigh but I love supporting local, organic farmers so it's kind of worth it. I also bought one huge sweet potato (because I wasn't sure if I would have enough cash), four organic rolls and a vegan sweet potato cinnamon bun (sorry I didn't take a pic). This Saturday I'm going to hit the farmers market in my neighborhood to drop off my food scraps and buy more greens and potatoes. I also want to hit Trader Joe's and buy nuts and seeds and more Clif bars. I want to be prepared throughout my day so that I'm not walking the city and find myself starving. When that happens, I eat out or come home and binge. My goal now is to be prepared and bring with me nuts and fruit or other easy to bring snacks.

In season now at your farmers market: sweet potatoes, collard greens, spinach, dandelion leaves, lettuce, russian kale, herbs and spices like cilantro, ginger and turmeric, apples and beets. I also saw a few vendors selling pints of dried beans. Here are a few farmers market tips:

1. Go about twice a week so you eat fresh produce. You will be buying what's in season and it will be the freshest.

2. Hit the vendors that say organic or no pesticide used but also ask the farmers what they use on their produce. You may be surprised that they use only water soluble fungicide and you may feel it's better than buying USDA organic from the supermarket. Also, supermarket produce travels far so it's good to buy produce that is local.

3. When you buy most of your food from a farmer's market, you support local, organic farmers. You don't have to worry about avoiding the processed food aisles that stores have and you can develop relationships with the people who sell you your food.

4. When you get home, store your produce in an airtight container or put in your veggie drawer. Wash and dry well right before consuming to avoid wilted leaves.

5. Try to eat your produce as quickly as possible so it is fresh and doesn't lose any vitamins and minerals. Eat leafy greens right away or cook them.

6. Some vendors aren't certified organic because it's expensive to get the certification or there is too much red tape. They may still have no pesticide use signs or you can just go up and ask if pesticide is used.

Farmer's markets are usually everywhere; even if they aren't around the corner, you can usually find a farm or orchard that is near your home where you can buy fresh fruits and veggies. I always find that I feel so much better supporting local farmers than buying my food in a supermarket. Though, it may be necessary for you to hit the supermarket, make sure you buy organic.