One of my favorite weekly traditions is our trip to the local farmers' market. It's a quick walk from our house and beyond the high quality products I come home with each week, it's also part of a lovely community within a much larger city. I loving knowing the farmers who grow our food and running into friends and other parents in the neighborhood. Because it's such an important part of my week, I thought I'd share some of the things I always buy, to give you a peek into what we eat each week and to inspire your own farmers' market visits:
Sour Dough English Muffins: I've always believed there's no comparison when it comes to homemade English muffins versus store-bought—and once said I would never go back—but I also wasn't a mom then. These days, whipping up a batch of English muffins every weekend isn't doable, but I've found that fresh-baked options from the farmers' market are a very close second. I get one to two packs, since they're the core part of Sloan's lunch (I make her a muffin and cream cheese sandwich every day) and my breakfast (with peanut butter and honey on top).
Seasonal Fruit: This is a farmers' market no-brainer, but I always try to get whatever's in season (which berries still are, in California!). I'll usually allow myself one to two seasonal fruits, but I usually end up with at least one pack of berries. Even when berries aren't at their peak, I like having them around to throw in smoothies or on top of Greek yogurt and waffles.
One thing I don't recognize: Oftentimes, a strange-looking melon or unrecognizable vegetable will lead to a really nice conversation with the farmer and introduce me to something I would have never discovered otherwise. When in doubt, ask them how they'd prepare it—they may say something as simple as "Roast it," or provide you with a family recipe.
A ten-pound bag of oranges: This may seem like an extreme amount of oranges for a family of three—and it is—but every morning, I make fresh-squeezed orange juice for Sloan so we're able to plow straight through it. Plus, I love how they look sitting in the carved wooden fruit bowl on our countertop.
Fresh Flowers: Unfortunately, our cats are as big of fans of a lot of the same fresh flower varieties that I am (roses and tulips), so I've taken to purchasing a large bouquet of eucalyptus most weeks, which they stay away from. It's seasonally ambiguous and feels fresh and clean in summer, but cozy and muted for fall and winter—it feels like what a chic interior designer would have in her home. A bunch is only $4, but it even looks good dry, so if I don't get around to buying a new bunch each week, it still looks fantastic. While it makes any bathroom look really luxe, I often put it in our kitchen or dining room
Eggs: I'm a firm believer that once you buy eggs from the farmers' market, you'll never go back to the grocery store variety. I read somewhere that eggs from the grocery store may have been laid over a month prior to being shelved, while farmers market eggs are really fresh—and I notice a difference. The yolks are a deep, bright orange and I feel better interacting with the farmers who actually raise the chickens, since regulations on cartons can be so lax.
Herbs: As our herb garden continues to flourish thanks to me (just kidding—thanks, Dad!), I buy $1 bags of herbs from the farmers' market each week since they're fresher and more affordable than the grocery store options. I usually mix-and-match which herbs I get, but typically grab chives (which bring scrambled eggs to the next level) basil (for pizzas), and tarragon (for salad dressing).
Avocados: I like to have a ripe avocado on hand most days of the week, whether for avocado toast, sliced over a last-minute quesadilla or salad, or smashed into guacamole. They improve pretty much any meal.
Vegetables: G and I are admittedly not great about incorporating vegetables into our diet, but have been trying to buy at least one vegetable a week at the farmers market. Lately we've been rotating between sweet potatoes, asparagus, and broccoli which we roast with olive oil and salt.
Pasta: Just like English muffins, you can add fresh pasta to the list of things I thought I'd be making on a weekly basis, but (very) seldom do. Since G and I don't have pasta all that frequently, we take the time to make a really good sauce and use only high-quality ingredients when we do. It defeats the purpose if we then throw in old dried spaghetti that's been collecting dust on our shelves—fresh pasta costs more, but it really brings dinner to the next level.
Yogurt: Sloan and I go through a ton of yogurt each week, and these French-style options from "Bonjour Kefir" are so rich that they can double as dessert, though my favorite flavor only has three ingredients and no added sugar—pasteurized milk, apricots, and probiotics—so I can feel good about eating it and serving it to Sloan.
Hummus: Besides the fact that Sloan has a very close relationship with the guy who sells us hummus and pita, it's become our go-to appetizer of choice for the delicious and unique flavors, whether we're making ourselves dinner or having friends over. To up the presentation, I simply add it to a bowl and drizzle-on some olive oil and some garnishes (see here for ideas!). Plus, Sloan's a really big fan, so anything she's willing to eat is something we stock up on.
Misc. other items:
Prepared foods: Depending on what our week looks like, we'll pick up a prepared food like roast chicken to shred and throw into soup or enchiladas, tamales, or eggplant Parmesan from the fresh pasta stand.
Protein: For a while, we were trying to be a little spontaneous about the fish, steak, and chicken we purchased, without meal-planning for it, but found that we'd often end up just throwing it in the freezer because we didn't have a set plan (to cook later, of course). Now, we try to be more selective and only buy protein if we have a specific recipe in mind.
Recipe-specific items: On that note, we sometimes come to the farmers' market with a specific recipe in mind, in which case we purchase as many items as possible there before heading to the grocery store!
P.S., Curious about what we keep in our fridge? Take a peek here!