Thursday, July 28, 2005

Organic For the People

I often tell people that letting me loose in a farmer's market is like giving a gambling addict a ticket to Vegas. I spend all the money I have, and then head to the ATM for more. That was certainly true at the Ferry Plaza Market down on the Embarcadero. Just thinking about it, with its myriad temptations and delights, makes me sigh.

That said, I am very happy about the Farmer's Market situation up here. There are numerous markets in Marin, offered at different times throughout the week, so that if you miss one, you can hit another. Here is the list I've compiled thus far:


Sunday - 8am to 1pm - San Rafael Civic Center (year around)
Sunday - 10am-1:30pm - Sebastopol Downtown Plaza (May through October)
Tuesday - 4pm to 8pm - DeLong Avenue in Novato (May through October)
Wednesday 12-5pm - Tamalpais Drive @ Hwy 101 in Corte Madera
Thursday - 8am to 1pm - San Rafael Civic Center (year around)
Thursday - 6pm-9pm - Downtown San Rafael @ 4th Street (April through September)
Saturday - 2pm-5pm - Walnut Park & Petaluma Boulevard
Saturday - 9am-1pm - Point Reyes Station (June through October)

It makes me happy to know that all that wonderful produce is so accessible. I do have pangs of sadness over the fact that I can't slip into Recchiuti for the Rose-Caramel truffle that I adore, and that if I want a hunk of my favorite cheese from the Cowgirl Creamery, I have to drive up to Point Reyes to get it. But these are minor quibbles - and not having those places so handy has saved me quite a chunk of change.

I've put myself on a Market budget, in fact. I did it for a couple of weeks as a lark, and now it has become a game. Before I go, I stop by the bank and withdraw 2 twenties. That's it! You simply cannot imagine how much stuff 40 bucks will buy. When I recall that ridiculous article by Julie Powell in the NYT last week, proclaiming that buying local and organic is out of the price range of most people, I scoff.

Each week, I literally have to take a trip to the car halfway through to unload, and then go back for more. This morning, at the San Rafael Civic Center, I got a dozen large brown eggs, fresh flowers (including the artichoke flowers pictured to the left), baby beets, swiss chard, pluots, grapes, herbs, pink chard (gorgeous!), enough basil and garlic for a bowl of pesto, baby squash (look at those blossoms! How adorable are those?!), sweet white corn, arugula...

AND a croissant to get me started. 40 bucks, people. That's awesome.


At 5:31 PM, Blogger Sam said...

Hmm - you do sound like rachael ray:) You do much better than me. I sometimes draw $100 at the Ferry Building and then spend $30 at the Fatted Calf alone. and the same at Cowgirl Plus a Recchiuti grapefruit & tarragon choccie cost me $1.92 last week, just for one! then a bag of pluots and nectarines shocked me at $10.

I think that is a good example you are setting. I am going to semi-follow you and try a limit of $60 and see how it goes. Of course, I will have another $40 spare in my pocket just in case.

I am glad I found your blog again cos I lost it. Have you checked out Bunny Rab's Yummy Chow for some burger suggestions?

And have you tried Tabla yet? A bit of a way from Novato in larkspur. I making suggestions cos I read your Q on Knife's Edge.

see you again soon,


At 8:23 AM, Blogger Lisa B-K/Jim K said...

Well, there was a time not all that long ago when all I could bring to market was ten bucks, and that wouldn't buy a whole lot - a couple pounds of tomatoes and a pound of salad mix. Oh, it was good, though. And the experience of the market, being around all that vegetably STUFF, was inspiring and sustenance, all by itself!

I read that editorial and while I didn't like her tone - I felt she complained way too much about the importance placed by locavores on very real issues like resource depletion and nutrition, and offered nothing in terms of solutions regarding our food supply - she's right in that most people (including herself) aren't living the life of the $22K/year family of four with very little in the way of garden space (like we did). Forty bucks is still a LOT of money, and when you're a coupon-clipper and dollar stretcher and frugalista just trying to put food on the table that isn't too gross and too difficult to prepare? In this day and age? It's way too much to spend at ANY market, and its expense is hard to justify. Spending that much would induce massive amounts of guilt in me. I wasn't thinking of pesticides and crappy business practices, or if I was, I shoved it to the back of my mind and tried to avoid thinking about it. The kids needed shoes, the rent had to be paid.

Unfortunately, the way our culture is rigged, all of us here in the US have become very dependent on "cheap" food from far away and out of season, stuffed with stretchers and additives, and are paying the price in other ways, like ruining the soil for future farming. Our priorities are not in the right place. THIS IS FOOD, not teevee!

It makes me sad, especially for the anxious mom on food stamps at the food coop watching me ring up her purchase - you know? All she wants are grapes that aren't dusted with who-knows-what. And she's paying over $5/# for them.

And have you seen kids eat grapes?

:sigh: Sorry for the hijack. I'm enjoying your journal and I LOVE those apples!

At 8:25 AM, Blogger Lisa B-K/Jim K said...

I should clarify - spending that much back in the old days would have induced massive amounts of guilt in me - now my budget's same as yours, and I spend gladly.

And I grow stuff, too. We're up to our ears in food right now.

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