Sunday, June 27, 2010

Everyday Sale

If there is one thing I have learned from going to the farmer's market, it is that everyday is a sale. Not literally speaking, of course (though today's deal featured a flat of strawberries for only $3--oh my!), but in the sense that with prices as good as these, they are actually better than sales at the grocery store. And as if that was not enough, the market is filled with fresh, local (sometimes organic), and absolutely beautiful produce that is enough to make your heart sing. 

There is no way I would rather spend my Saturday mornings than basking in this wonder with my mom. What is your favorite way to spend a lovely summer weekend?

Today was an especially good day at the market. It seems that with every summer day, the produce seems to get more beautiful and bountiful, calling to me, "eat me, eat me." Naturally I was happy to oblige. 

For the obligatory green-action, I decided to get romaine lettuce, broccoli, and kale. All of these were so large that they did not even completely fit on my recyclable bag for the picture! Usually I would not share prices, but all of my finds were just too good to be true. The broccoli that was bigger than my head (maybe about 2x my head or so?) was only $2. Both the romaine and kale were $1 each for a generous head and bunch respectively. 

I wanted to show you a bit of a close up of these because I really like the texture. I have found that farmer's market produce generally has "character" and is more "rugged" in texture than their store-bought counterparts. I actually really like this because it shows me that they were grown with care and are produced on a smaller scale. Let's be honest, who actually sees "Michigan-grown" on a label in their supermarket (unless, of course, you are a Michiganian)? Basically, these local farmer's are producing on a small scale which allows everything to be fresh and mindfully taken care of, not to mention extremely delicious. 

More veggies included cauliflower, zucchini, yellow squash, sweet peas, and (the return of) an avocado. I am so excited about the sweet peas because I cannot remember the last time I had them. Something about sweet peas just says summer to me. What food says "summer" to you?

I also bought two red peppers ($1 for both) and both green and purple asparagus (2 for $5, I think) from my neighbor. The purple asparagus are definitely a new find for me. Has anyone every had them before? I did a little research and found that their purple color comes from their cancer fighting phytochemicals called Anthocyanins. Apparently they are also sweeter than their green counterparts. Sounds good to me! 

The bounty of gorgeous veggies certainty could not distract me from my other love: fruit. First up was 3 pears that are destined for either sorbet overnight oats or as an addition to a salad. 

The deal of the day was a flat of strawberries for $3. Yes, my friends, that is indeed $3 for 8 boxes! However, they looked a bit too ripe for my taste. I can go through strawberries like nobody's business, but not that quickly! Instead, my neighbor offered me a great deal on Michigan strawberries that were not quite as ripe. She charged me $2 for 1/2 a flat. Is she a sweetie or what? 

My little splurge for the day was a basket of black raspberries. I was intrigued by the farmer and his daughter's little table that was filled with only these precious gems. Unsure of what they were, I inquired about them and got to talking. What can I say, I love to chat it up about good food.

 The farmer told me that they were freshly picked this morning and offered that I could try some for myself. I knew almost immediately that it was love. Through chatting, I learned that black raspberries are only around for 3 weeks, so naturally they are quite the rarity. Not wanting to miss my opprotunity, I asked my mom if we could buy some. 

We decided that our $4 splurge (which, in reality, is not so much of a splurge when comparing it to the store and considering that it we were supporting a local farmer) was completely worth it. Once the black raspberries ripen a bit more, we will savor them all as they should be: au natural, in the company of loved ones.

With all this beautiful produce, I see a lot of fresh and flavorful meals in my future. The joy of eating food that is good for my taste buds, body, and even the local economy delights me like no other. What more could a girl want? 

I definitely see a lot of salads in my future (which will probably be even more exciting than this beauty below). 

Do you have any ideas of how to use all this produce? What are your favorite meals using these finds? Do you have any recipes to share? Salads are my go-to meal because I get to enjoy all my favorites (veggies, of course) in their natural state. Yum!

Aside from picking out produce and googling recipe ideas, I have also been pretty busy baking in the kitchen. First up, I made two batches of cookies for presents for my mom's students (she teaches a water aerobics class to senior citizens). The first batch was coconut cookies

Next, I decided to make cranberry almond cookies. I must admit, the fact that this combination sounded like something my grandmother would like had a large effect on my decision. I knew she would want a little taste (remember the little mouse?), so why not make it something special?

However, I was really wishing I had a Twitter while making these. I spent more than an hour trying to decide what kind of cookies to make and still to no avail. Some blogger inspiration could have fixed this in a jiffy!

Even with my lack of inspiration, my cookies seemed to turn out well. First, my mom and I packaged them up in patriotic dish towels (the picture she took of the packages is below). 

Then I left a few extras out for my family to nibble on. 

Even with a sign on them explaining that I had not done my blogging duties yet (i.e. I had not taken pictures so to please refrain from eating too many), they disappeared before I knew it. 

Accordingly, only a few were left for the photo op, including one that my mom was in the process of eating. Munch, much, munch. 

Since my family was obviously gobbling up the baked goods faster than I could turn them out, I decided to continue on my baking spree. 

Somehow we ended up with a surplus of black bananas in our fridge so I felt it was my duty to fix that. No wasting!

 Add to that some chopped strawberries that were on their way out (last week's $5 a flat deal---wahoo!) and you have delicious and savvy vegan strawberry banana muffins

Whew! Looking back at this post, there is A LOT of stuff going on. What have you been up to this weekend? Here's a hint about how mine started...

Enjoy this beautiful summer Sunday and have a lovely start to the week, bloggies! 



  1. Your cranberry almond cookies look fabulous! And my favorite way to spend a weekend was actually what I did yesterday. Had breakfast and coffee with my mom, went to the farmer's market, did pilates, then hung out with my best friend! Nothing better :)

  2. whoa!! that purple asparagus looks soo cool!!! i've seen different color cauliflower and kale..but not asparagus..i definatly want to know how that tastes! the raspberries look good too!

  3. i'm so jealous you have a farmer's market nearby! i don't know of one within fifty miles of my house :(

    baking sprees are the best, aren't they? i love it when i get on one, and my family freaks out at the "vegan" and "healthy" things they know i'm about to force them to try :)

    ♥ lindsey

  4. we need to have a produce party together haha. u always know how to pick the best and the ones that make me excited :)

    WOOT WOOT for the package! love boxes in the mail.. only a GOOD sign.. unless it says "bomb" on it.. then id worry lol.

    k and lets hear it for these delicious summer muffins! cant wait to get in the kitchen and start mixing together some delicious batches of muffins soon :)

    xoxo <3

  5. Farmers markets are my most favorite thing about the summer!!! Those asparagus look delicious - i love them simply grilled with olive oil and fresh basil and oregano!!!! I too just got a TON of berries from the market and actually picked my own black raspberries!!!!
    Happy cooking!!!! xo aim

  6. wow! your farmer's market is much cheaper than mine. lucky duck!

    and the baking looks scrumptious.

  7. You got some great stuff at the farmer's market! I can't believe those awesome prices! I'm sure those veggies would be awesome in so many recipes, but one of my favourite ways to enjoy them is simply grilled with olive oil, herbs, and s&p. It brings out the best flavours!

    My perfect summer day would involve an early morning run, an afternoon at the beach, and a campfire at night with my friends.

    Yum, all of those treats look delicious!

  8. Wow, all these goodies were so affordable..$1 kale...amazing! Maybe make some kale chips! Averie made some delicious ones on her Love Veggies and Yoga blog! Oh, and that does sound like the perfect Saturday! I wish that I had time for the farmer's market this week. V made me work so hard this weekend moving that we didn't get done until tonight...craziness! And yes, you must live so close to my parents and the house I lived in during high school! I almost went to cranbrook but they only could get me in that year and not my sis so they sent to seaholm instead! My parents live right by Quarton elementary. Know it?

    Oh, and for my dinner on Friday I used a teaspoon per person of rice vinegar and probably 2 t tamari/shoyu/or soy sauce.

    We decided that we must go to Eastern Market next weekend even though we are working like crazy this week because not only do I miss the farmer's market after one weekend of not going, but also because we need more outdoor plants for our new roof deck! so exciting! I definitely want to try going to the bham yoga shelter though near my parents! Thanks for the yoga studio advice!

    All the baked goods look delicious!

  9. I LOVE Farmer's Markets. It looks like you found some great deals! I am so jealous... I have not had time to go to one farmer's market yet. All of the cookies you made looks so yummy. And awesome pics. by the way :)


  10. omg amazing post!

    black raspberries..yes a bit of a splurge but you only live once :)
    holy deal on the s'berries too!

    I am posting tomorrow about a MASSIVE farmer's market find/pics and it's just nuts how much i saw and could have bought :)

    w/ the veggies, I say make dips w. them. Add nooch to any ground veggies and you're well on your way to a dip. Or veganaise. I am posting about this tomorrow :)


  11. Farmer's markets with my mom/dad are my favorite way to spend a Saturday morning as well :) We go really early, buy a bunch of fresh produce, and then hit up a coffee shop and chat. Definitely a lovely way to start the day. And it really looks like you got some good stuff! $3 for that many strawberries? I'd be in heaven. They're a little more pricey here, but local is always worth it :)

    All of your baked treats always look SO good, and it's really sweet of you to bake cookies for your mom's students. I'm the same way when it comes to having no idea what kind of treats I want to bake, so I usually just give up the search and stick to something I know.

    Hope your week is starting out great!

  12. Thanks for the comment! I think my guar gum is bob's red mill (I transferred it to a glass jar and don't have the package). It's from a health food store around here. Guar is cheaper than zanthan and there is some kind of reaction that happens when you put them together that makes things gel even better, so I'd say it's worth looking for the guar gum. You could try asking your local health food store to special order it for you. Then you won't have to pay for shipping, like if you bought it online.

    Hope you're having a lovely day!!