Thursday, January 27, 2011

Farmer's Market

I was out to coffee with a couple girlfriends a few nights ago and one of them told me about a nearby Farmer's Market that is open on Thursday mornings. My husband and I had taken our girls to one last weekend, but it was super small and a 20 minute drive to spend too much on olive oil and a small tub of almond butter.

Until I am comfortable with the proper etiquette of a Farmer's Market I don't think I can go by myself. I will end up spending more than I wanted to because of my people pleasing need! I walked the market a good 10 feet away from each booth trying to decide if there was anything there I was willing to buy if I was approached by those selling. Is it okay to sample everything they have and then say that you are not interested in buying? I don't like to be watched as I am shopping. Because I didn't have a list or an objective today, I wanted to be able to look and pick up a few fun things if something caught my eye. At the same time, I want those there selling their goods to feel good about what they have. Will they feel rejected if I reject their product? SO MUCH PRESSURE! I realized I need to go with a few other at least I can pretend that one of them might buy something as I look on.

The prices didn't seem that much cheaper to me. I shop for my produce at Costco and I can get a dozen large apples for $4.50. Or a big bag of yams for $3.50 instead of one yam for $2.00 that isn't that pretty of a color or that better of taste. A few months back I watched the documentary Food, Inc. It was so informative and motivating to make better choices and make sure my "vote" counts with each item I purchase. But if I am going to start making shifts into supporting local farmers and eating fresher produce, I might as well hit up Whole Foods (or Whole Paycheck, as my husband calls it) if I am not going to see cheaper produce at a farmer's market. At least at Whole Foods I don't have someone leering at me over the spinach and beets. Yes, leering...that's what it feels like to me!

After 20 minutes of circling I headed back to the car, packed the girls up and hit up good ol' Trader Joe's. It took me a while to get used to Trader Joe's when I first started shopping there too, but I love it and know what I'm doing. And they give my kids stickers!
It's the small things.

Will I go to a farmer's market again? Definitely, but I need a little hand holding to boost my confidence to say "no" to those selling if I am not interested. Would love any advice or inside tips from those seasoned farmer's market shoppers!


  1. I completely relate to this. Farmers markets sound great, but I have no idea how to make it work for me, my budget and my menu planning.

    And we get covered in stickers every time we go to TJs and I love it. :)

  2. Love this blog, Kelli! We just watched Food Inc also, and I think the point I took away was that we should buy "local" (e.g. farmers markets and/or organic) in order to ensure we're not supporting the big conglomerates that are killing the businesses of our local farmers. (wow, I sound like a bleeding heart)

    Trader Joe's is great (I shop there all the time), but some of their produce comes from Mexico, South America, etc. and you just don't know about their controls. Just read the labels. I go to the Thursday farmer's market pretty frequently, and have just learned not to make eye contact or say that I'm not sure what I want yet...believe me, they hear that all day long. Be strong sister! Or call me, I'll go with you :)

  3. i love Grower's Ranch on Newport...I'm not the biggest fan of Trader Joe's produce so this little place works out nice for me :) I do end up saving money there too :)

  4. Walking the malls where the vendors come at you from the kiosks is good practice...No thank you...repeatedly. Also, consider they may make more than your husband selling a yam for 2.00 ea...I always felt like the great protector of Bill's salary...I never wanted to waste a dime of it was easy to say No to overpriced items. I LOVE Smart n Final is beautiful and lower prices than supermarkets. You should write for a can add humorous author to your resume.

  5. Kelli, I used to go to the Farmer's Market at the UCI center for years when my kids were small. I put them in the double stroller and then later the wagon and put bibs on them and just let them eat fruit samples for hours. I love that market because it is large and you don't feel pressure to buy anything at all. I did however (and Kristen will mock me of course) one time get a free cloth bag in one of the raffles they were doing (they always raffle off free produce and gifts at the end) and I proudly walked around with that. I would have to try very hard to wear the appropriate outfit that demonstrated that I was "in" with the organic farmers and would never choose to eat anything that was not organic. Basically, I would buy a few things (mostly Pluots and things I couldn't get anywhere else) and then I would walk directly to Trader Joe's and buy everything else. Saturday mornings. You should try it! Oh, P.S they also often have live music which is.....interesting. You just feel smarter while you are there. I also recommend wearing your glasses if you have them. Worked for me.