Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Get Thee to the Farmer's Market!

People make excuses.  When faced with the obvious benefits of eating locally-grown, organic food, lots of folks (including some in FruHo's family who shall remain nameless) say that it's just too expensive to shop at Whole Paycheck Foods.  They mention that conventional fresh produce is cheaper, and the canned or frozen stuff is almost free by comparison. 

 It is estimated that organic food costs about 30% more than conventional food.  This may be true if you compare products side-by-side on the shelf at your grocery store, but The Frugal Hostess begs to differ when it comes to shopping outside the walls of Kroger or Publix or whatever.  She is quite certain that you can eat local, organic food for far less money than conventional food if you do a couple of things:

1.  Eat in season.  Guess when strawberries grow?  Now.  They are sweet, flavorful, and abundant in the spring (at least in these parts).  Find a strawberry farmer in season, and TFH can pretty much assure you that you can have strawberries at a reasonable price.  Look for organic strawberries in November and guess what?  Not only do they taste mealy and flavorless, but they cost a fortune!  Defying the rules of nature will cost you.

2.  Source directly.  If you go straight to the source, you strip away the layers of profit needed to pay for distribution in big stores.  For example, The Frugal Hostess buys free-range eggs from a farmer who delivers them to her neighborhood once a week.  The eggs are huge (she comparison-weighed them against store eggs, and they were at least 25% heavier), and they cost $3.50.  The very cheapest free-range eggs TFH can find in a discount store cost $3.59, and they are smaller.  (You could also get even closer to the source by growing your own, but that's a topic for another post.)

Having once worked a Corporate Gig, FruHo feels you on not having time to source every morsel of food you eat.  And having once been completely clueless about what food is in season, she totally understands that you might not know.  Therefore, she has invented a brilliant solution that will solve both of these problems for you.  It's a gathering place where all of the farmers from nearby can come to sell their stuff.  The sourcing is taken care of, and you'll know what's in season by what's for sale.  Brilliant, right?  She calls it - get this - a farmer's market.


Wait, what?  Did you say that already exists?  Pardon?  The Frugal Hostess did not, in fact, invent the farmer's market?

Well, crap.

In that case, here are some resources for finding the farmer's market nearest you.  

And if you live in Atlanta, The Frugal Hostess will be working at the new Decatur market starting this Saturday, hawking Big Daddy Biscuits.  Please come by, say hello, and then buy some dinner!

Photo by empracht

The Frugal Hostess has heard that eating local food keeps you from having allergies, so she eats a dab of local wild flower honey every morning. Please comment. You can also join the Frugalistas on Facebook for exclusive content, follow on Twitter @frugalhostess, or subscribe so that you always know when a new post appears.
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