Early Spring at the Market – On the Cheap!
When people talk of visiting the Farmer’s Market they don’t often exclaim over its cheapness. More usually you hear grumbling and groaning over the prices, so much more expensive than the supermarket, is it actually worth the money…
All opinions aside over whether it really is that much more expensive, I am here to offer the market through another lens – my Scottish thrifty lens. My Scottish thrifty lens is an inheritance from a long line of thrifty Scots. When it comes to sniffing out a deal or using the very last drop of dish soap, few do it better than the Scottish. So if you are heading towards the market, make sure to keep your eyes out for these smokin’ early spring deals.
1) Apples – In Vancouver, apples are a fall fruit. They are at their peak as the air crisps up, signalling the oncoming winter. So the spring is the best time to find deals on apples. They have been in cold storage and aren’t at the height of crunchiness but who says you have to only eat apples raw. Stock up on big bags of apples and make apple sauce, apple pie, apple chutney, etc. etc. I found big bags of certified organic apples for only $5 bucks!
2) Beet Greens – So I’ve actually been volunteering at the market and I’ve discovered that most people don’t want the beet greens. They ask the farmer to strip them off. I know! Crazy! All that delicious and nutritious greenery going straight into the compost bin. So what is a thrifty person to do? Well you have two options:
- Option 1: Stand by the beets and start makin’ deals. Ask people if they are going to eat the greens and if they say no, offer to take them off their hands. You are doing them a favour by relieving their “throwing it away” guilt.
- Option 2: Speak to the farmer directly. Explain that you are a beet green fanatic and are horrified that people don’t eat them. As you ask what they cost train your children to chime in with a “mommy I’m hungry” and I am sure you will get them for free. Ethics you say? You’re talking to a thrifty Scot.
3) Frozen Tomatoes – Farmers don’t throw stuff away, especially small-scale organic farmers. They process it, freeze it or compost it. Certified organic frozen tomatoes are the way to go. Way cheaper than fresh and perfect, perfect, perfect for making tomato sauce and paste. Early spring is the time to find frozen tomatoes because that year’s crop isn’t quite in yet. Snap them up!
4) Market Membership – With all the hustle and the bustle of the market many things escaped my notice in the past. Now that I am volunteering I have time to soak in the market culture. Lesson from last weekend? Get a membership to the farmer’s market society. Then, as you wander around the booths, you will get deals on specific items. It’s a win-win situation. Get on it.
I would love to hear about other deals and steals that people find at the market either through commenting or email.
Check back soon to hear more about my experiences volunteering at the market this summer.
Shonagh writes An Offal Experiment
Exploring the guts of food…