Sunday, July 18, 2010

Eating locally without breaking the bank


Looks good doesn't it? What you see above is my takeaway from the Newburyport Farmers' Market for this week. Well, I lie, there were two cider donuts from Applecrest Farm in Hampton Falls, NH and my Sunday morning addiction to the iced chai from White Heron Tea of New Hampshire. Why, you may ask, do I constantly link you to all of these places and give them shout-outs by name? It's because they deserve it. These local farms, growers, and companies are fabulous. They work hard and should be supported so they stick around and continue to fuel my habits for their products. Yes, that's a tad selfish, but true.

So I armed myself with $20 and hit the market. I get my chai and cider donuts first and then move on with about $15 left for my produce. We only have a family of two humans plus two pugs (who get their own kibble cuisine) so you have to keep this in mind. I tend to do a full circle of the stands to see who has the best price on what I want for the week and then I do my shopping. Today it's lettuce from Farmer Dave's in Dracut, Ma that's my first stop. Their lettuce is crisp, tasty, and here's a secret about buying locally - because it's picked so close to the time you by it (no time spent on a truck) it lasts longer than the stuff you buy at the grocery store. I then pick up new potatoes and a slicing cucumber from Heron Pond Farm in South Hampton, NH, and their booth. The blueberries (since I haven't braved the heat to go pick my own yet at a local farm) are from Applecrest as well. I finish off with zucchini and a summer squash from Wheelerbrook Farm in Georgetown, MA. No visit to the market would be complete without a stop-off at Savory Kitchen's tent for some bread or a sweet. Today's pick was sun-dried tomato, scallion and feta foccacia. I have to mention while all of this costs money, the conversation is free and priceless with all of these local vendors.

So that's my take for about $15 of local, fresh produce. Could I probably get it all for about $10 at the grocery store? Sure. Would it taste as good and prompt me to really use it up and get creative? No. This is supporting local people and local food. I like that. It makes me super happy to do so. One day, who knows, I could find myself being on that side of this whole situation.

So that's the produce, which will make up a chunk of most of my meals and snacks for the week. I've been shying away from local meats. Mostly, I admit, due to cost. However, I feel like I never did the research on it all. We have friends who buy almost all their meat from Tendercrop Farm in Newbury, MA, because, as they say, you can literally see the cows from Scotland Road. Now, that may be too much for some, but to me, you know where it's coming from. Not to mention, after sampling some of their meats at said friends' home - they're one-hundred times better than the grocery store's picks. So, after the farmers' market today I headed to Tendercrop to pick up some protein.


So for another $25 I got: Island Mango Chicken Breasts, Bourbon Steak Tips, Vermont Farm Cheddar Bread, an onion and a tub of their spinach, garlic, bacon dip (heaven). Yes, the meat would be cheaper at the grocery store, especially if on sale, but this stuff is seriously good.

So for about $45, my food shopping this week is about complete. I'll hit the grocery store for organic milk (so much better than regular, lasts longer too), bananas and that's about it - $5 or so of food there. I'll hit Fowles Market for some Boar's Head deli turkey ($4) and we'll be set for the week. If it doesn't seem like a lot of food, I'm definitely supplementing from our pantry and freezer for meals, but this is honestly the bulk of it.

I know it's only for two people, but I feel like about $55 for two, for the week, mostly local and fresh is a fairly good accomplishment. Eating local doesn't have to break the bank, especially when you think ahead and do the math. Pin It

5 comments:

susan said...

this is awesome! i love all your pix!!! they make me hungry and have me wanting to visit a farmer's market, now!

Suzanne said...

I love the info, but my biggest problem is the menu breakdown. I can never seem to use everything I buy in an organized thorough fashion. Do you plan menus for the week?

bctoboston said...

Suzanne - I do meal plan and usually post throughout the week. For example with what I got this week - so far I've planned the following:

Turkey Sandwiches with the bread, meat, and lettuce
Salads with the lettuce/cukes/homegrown tomatoes
Zucchini/Squash tossed in olive oil/balsamic and grilled to be a side for the steak tips
New potatoes will be another side tossed with butter and fresh herbs

Nourishing Words said...

I'm with you on recognizing the local farmers and producers. Without them, life would be so boring! Nice job laying out the economics of eating local. It's not as expensive as some make it out to be; it's all about choices, after all.

bctoboston said...

Suzanne - I do meal plan and usually post throughout the week. For example with what I got this week - so far I've planned the following:

Turkey Sandwiches with the bread, meat, and lettuce
Salads with the lettuce/cukes/homegrown tomatoes
Zucchini/Squash tossed in olive oil/balsamic and grilled to be a side for the steak tips
New potatoes will be another side tossed with butter and fresh herbs