It's a Farmer's Life for Me

“The best part about life? Every morning you have a new opportunity to become a happier healthier version of yourself” – Unknown

Daily we go to their nearest grocery store for produce, but do we know what we’re buying? How the markets get the produce all the same size and shape? What pesticides they put on these items to keep them protected from the natural environment around them to keep them looking as “pretty” as possible for shelf life? Well, I decided to do some research myself to see the different between grocery bought produce and farmers market produce where with Farmers Markets the produce is organic with no GMOs.

Today, I went to my first farmers market and had no idea what to expect. I also had no idea what genetically modified, also known as GMO, was when it came to the food I was buying. Come to find out it is where the genes are modified in a laboratory to make produce the same shape, size and color, which is what these big market chains of grocery stores put on their produce unless it is labeled otherwise. It is CRAZY to think that a laboratory can change the natural science to get produce to be exactly how the retailer wants, but what is this doing or could do to our bodies?

Pepper on the left is from the farmers market and the one on the right is from the grocery store. 
The zucchini on the top is from the farmer's market and the one on the bottom is from the grocery store.
GM food require massive amounts of pesticides which are pure poison and when consumed can cause harm over time. These poisons are put on produce to survive herbicide treatment, produce their own pesticide and resist certain diseases and decay. That’s not exactly something that sounds nice to go in the body; what do you think?? And to think that is not the only thing that goes into making our everyday produce.

We will never be immune or avoid the toxins around us, but how to do we limit them? Is there anything we can do? Well, I wanted to start with getting as much research as I could by reading articles from Dr. T. Colin Campbell and watching documentaries such as: What the Health, Fork Over Knives and Vegucated (which right now are all on Netflix) and try to give my body the best fuel that I could, or at least try to. So, I took an adventure to the Farmers Market and I did not realize the benefits such as supporting a clean environment, local families and the wildlife. I thought it was where the veg heads (the ones who did not consume meat) pushed this lifestyle on you, but boy was I wrong. The benefits of being on a whole food, plant based diet is through the roof, but that is a different post on a different day. The real question everyone always asks “Well, isn’t Farmer’s Market/ Organic produce more expensive than grocery store produce?” or at least that was my main question and surprisingly the answer is not always.

Just to talk about an example of what I experienced today is with being a big fan of pomegranates, but never wanting  to buy them at my local grocery store because they are one of the more expensive items averaging $2.00 a pomegranate. At the farmer’s market I was able to get four for the price of one at $0.50 a piece because right now pomegranates are in season (if you would like to see a list of what is in season right now or any time of the year see the bottom of the post). The trick of getting cheaper prices is to get things while they are in season because the demand for them is not as high and let me tell you, these were the most delicious pomegranates I think I have had EVER! But, I still think I made it off with a steal today with a total of $15.20 for a bag of small potatoes, two very large zucchinis, three fresh red peppers, three medium tomatoes, four sweet potatoes and the four juicy blush pomegranates.

Winter: Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Celery, Citrus, Kale, Kiwi, Leeks, Onions, Parsnips, Pomegranates, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkins, Radishes, Rutabaga and Turnips

Spring: Artichoke, Asparagus, Avocado, Blood Orange, Broccoli, Fava Beans, Fennel, Grapefruit, Kale, Kiwi, Peas, Pineapple, Leeks, Radishes, Rhubarb and Turnips

Summer: Apricots, Arugula, Asparagus, Bell Pepper, Blackberries, Blueberries, Cauliflower, Cherries, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Figs, Garlic, Lemons, Limes, Melon, Mulberries, Passion Fruit, Peaches, Pineapple, Plums, Radishes, Spinach, Strawberries, Tomatoes and Zucchini

Fall: Almonds, Apples, Artichoke, Beets, Bell Pepper, Brussels Sprouts, Butternut Squash, Cauliflower, Celery Root, Chard, Chestnuts, Corn, Eggplant, Fennel, Garlic, Mushrooms, Parsnip, Pears, Persimmon, Plums, Pomegranate, Potatoes, Pumpkin, Radishes, Raspberries, Rutabaga, Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, Tamarillo and Tangerines
Another fun fact about farmer’s markets is that they don’t just sell produce from local farms, but they sell everything from clothes, jewelry and trinkets for your home. They also have AMAZING food trucks with homemade lemonades, ice-cream and, at the one I went to yesterday in Goodyear, Arizona, a quesadilla truck... yes, I said a quesadilla truck! For myself, I made my way over for one of my favorite treats, Elote, where they take sweet corn, mayo, cojita cheese, chili powder and lime juice (if you have not tried this little piece of heaven than your missing out) and they can either leave it on the cob or put it in a cup to eat your heart out. I also made my way over to a delightful little stand called Quinoa Esta Bakery where I overheard the woman at the stand talking about how she can make brownies with just oil and water… and I said SIGN ME UP! (as right now I am trying a whole plant based diet for health reasons). She talked about this brownie mix with me and her other items like pumpkin spice bread, chocolate chip cookie and expresso coffee mix which are made with organic, Non-GMO quinoa and is completely gluten free!! I tasted a sample and boy did I feel guilty and then I thought to myself, everything in this mixture is good for me. I bought a 22oz family size bag for $17.50 where she stated you can get two uses from the bag. So, I scored on a treat which made me feel guilt free, it was good for me and it was a good price! Here is a link to her website if you want to check out her other products.
Since this was my first time going to the farmer’s market I didn’t exactly know what I was walking into and I wish I had some tips or tricks to the game to make a game plan to tackle the day. From my experience, here is some tips I would highly recommend:

  •     Make a list. If you have stuff you need to get for the week have it written down so you do not have the chance of over buying and stay to your budget.
  •     Bring Cash. It is so much easier to budget and pay with these “mom and pop” vendors. Some vendors have credit card merchant machines, but have to charge an additional fee for processing due to them getting charged an arm and a leg for the transaction.
  •   Go early in the day, if possible, right when they open. To get the first pick of the bunch and avoid the late snoozer crowds as well as the hot sun (depending on the day)
  •     When you get, there take a lap, walk around and check out the treasures. When your taking the lap take advantage of the samples (AKA free breakfast). You can try some things you would have never thought about trying before such as tomato basil hummus (which I ended up getting a sample because it was SO GOOD. Here is the website to Sooooo Hummus Factory, LLC’s website for delicious homemade hummus.
  •       Ask questions to the farmers and vendors. For example, I didn’t know which pomegranates to pick, so I asked a ton of questions on how to pick pomegranates from the farmer and why his pomegranates were a blush color and why the grocery stores were bright red and he gave me a lot of insightful information such as there are one hundred or more different strings of pomegranates. WHO KNEW??!
  •    If you plan on buying more than your hands can carry, bring a bag. I would recommend a roller basket (link below) or a back pack because by the end I was struggling to hold everything and if I would have brought a bag I would have explored further.
  •       Go with the flow and have FUN! I had such a blast with one of my good friends and her mom and we laughed, joked and enjoyed samples and the whole essence of everything around us!!
Overall, I would have to say I would ABSOLUTELY go back to my local farmer’s market and even excursion off to other ones to see other vendors and produce. Just the vibe of the light breeze, bright sunny day, yummy treats and good people just screams WONDERFUL! I hope this post gives you a little insight if you were a newbie like me and hope to see you on my next post where I will be talking about recipes and going on a whole plant based diet and why I decided to try it and probably won’t turn back!
Stay tuned because if I haven’t done it, I will do it and tell you about how I did it! If I have done it already I’ll tell you all about it!

See you soon,

-  Katie – Did


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