Tuesday, June 16, 2015

My Amazing Haul From The Farmer's Market Today!

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I had to go to the city today to take my kids to the dentist, and my refrigerator was getting pretty empty, since the last time I bought produce (other than a bag of carrots and a few onions) was 2 weeks ago at the farmer's market, so I decided to take all the kids with me to the market again, and hopefully buy enough produce to last another 2 weeks...

When I first got to the farmer's market, I stopped by my favorite stall, run by a man named Gideon. His business model is buying the seconds and less desirable produce from a nearby stall, then selling it super cheaply. When the merchandise finishes, it finishes, and he goes home. So when buying from him, the trick is to come to him as early in the day as possible, since there is more available then. Gideon's stall is generally the cheapest in the area- he tends to have a large selection of produce for 13 cents a pound- so that is my first stop, and once I see what he has and pick out what I want, then I fill in the blanks and buy what he doesn't have at the other stalls.

Today, Rose was sleeping in the stroller when I got to Gideon's stall, and since I usually put my groceries in the seat where Rose was sleeping, and wear her, or let her walk, I picked out my produce- all 13 cents a pound- some gigantic beets, some terrific cucumbers, some brown bananas- perfect for smoothie making- for a total of 33 lbs and $4.28. Gideon was trying to get me to take some clementines as well, said he'd give me 15.5 lbs for $5.71, working out to 36 cents a pound, so I agreed. I set aside my paid for produce at his stall, and promised him I'd be back once I did the rest of my shopping and Rose woke up.

I then stopped at a store where I found cashews cheaper than I'd seen them anywhere else locally- $8.57 a pound- so bought 2.2 lbs for $18.85. Now that I know cashews are more worthwhile to make vegan milks with than almond milk, I'm really excited about this...

Then I stopped at some fish stores, asking them how much they charge for salmon heads. A few places said $2.30-$2.85 a head, but since I've gotten them before for between $1.42 and $1.90 a head, I just moved on. One just gave me the head free. And finally, I found a store selling them for 95 cents each, so I bought 6 of them- for $5.70 total.

And then, of course, I found a store that sells cashews even cheaper than the place I bought them cheaply- for only $7.53 a pound, so I bookmarked the store in my mind for future cashew buying trips. I found brazil nuts for the same price as cashews there, so I bought roughly half a pound for $4.14.

I then passed a store that sells household goods, that my sister, Violet, had recommended to me, since she knew I was looking for a quality meat grinder at a decent price. I picked up one there, since I often am able to get beef hunks on sale for cheaper than ground beef is, and my stomach tolerates ground beef better than whole beef, and ground beef also stretches more easily than other cuts of beef. My sister recommended to me to grind cooked gizzards, and either mix it in in with my ground beef to stretch it, or just use it plain- I look forward to that, since gizzards are cheap and healthy and my family loves them, but sometimes I just want ground meat for some recipe types...
That set me back 30 dollars, but hopefully it'll be a worthwhile investment.

Then I went to another stall that has a reduced rack for produce, and bought 5.9 lbs of zucchini for 33 cents a pound for a total of $1.95, and then to another stall that had reduced rack sweet potatoes for 39 cents a pound and apples for 33 a pound, so I paid $1.95 for about 5.5 lbs of produce there.

Then I went back to Gideon's store, picked up my paid for groceries, and since he wanted to close up already, offered me the rest of the 13 cents a pound produce free- so I got some more beets, a bunch of cucumbers that were slightly wilted (hence my not taking them the first time around), a few eggplants, some grape fruits, and a little bit of hot peppers- probably about 15-20 lbs of free stuff. I've discovered that when it comes to shopping at the market, it pays to become a regular, and make a relationship with sellers, because then you benefit- in my case, 15-20 lbs of free produce, just because.

Last but not least- I picked up some stevia leaves to make into stevia extract- my kids want freeze pops this summer to keep cool, and it not only is getting expensive to keep buying them- especially at the rate my kids are eating them- it's also not so healthy. I want to start making them homemade ones, and hopefully without so much sugar- I plan on using stevia sweetened lemonade and iced tea to make freeze pops and popsicles, etc... So that was $2.85 for a small package of leaves, but a little bit goes a long way...

So anyhow- the grand total of my shop (not counting the grinder, since that's not groceries)- $45.43, for about 77 lbs of produce (18 cents a pound on average) and 2.7 lbs of nuts ($8.52 per pound average), plus 7 salmon heads (81 cents a pound on average) and stevia.

Not bad if I may say so myself.

I still have cantaloupe and a giant beet and some potatoes and a few zucchinis and apples and onions and carrots left from my last shops... so we'll have to see how long this produce will last us- my guess is roughly 2 weeks, give or take a couple of days...

And this is why I go to the farmer's market.
Because even though it's tiring, it is worth it financially, since I would have paid at least 3-4 times as much for what I bought, had I gone to the regular "cheap" grocery store near me.

Have you gotten any terrific deals at the grocery store, farmer's market, or similar lately? What did you get?

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