Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fun at the Farmers Market!

Every Saturday morning, the car park next to Dunedin Railway Station buzzes with people. It's time for the Otago Farmers Market, a year round, weekly market where vendors from all over Otago come to sell their produce.

I like to go to the Farmers Market whenever I have a Saturday morning off work, except for perhaps when it is bucketing down with rain. Sometimes it's just a quick visit to buy a few veggies, or to meet up with a friend and get a coffee and a yummy crepe from the French man at La Crepe.

In a bid to be a bit healthier and buy more local produce, I decided last Saturday I would try and buy most of my groceries for the week/fortnight. I budgeted myself $60 for the food. Normally I would go to the supermarket for a 'big shop' about once a fortnight and I would always be shocked at the amount of money I spent compared to what I had bought.

I went to the market fairly early in the morning - about 9am - when the selection is better. It usually runs from 8am until 12ish - although there isn't much left by then!

Here's what I bought:

Some of this will last me longer than a week, which is probably a good thing as I'm working night shifts next weekend, so might not quite be up for visiting the market after work!

The big plus of buying local produce is that you are buying in season. I bought carrots and parsnips, spinach (I love spinach and I definitely need the iron!), broccoli, 2kg of potatoes, and yummy Braeburn and Granny Smith apples. I rarely used to eat apples but have developed a taste for them again. I also bought a loaf of multi grain bread and a loaf of sour dough bread and half a dozen free range eggs. I bought 2 large chicken breasts for $8, which will easily last me for four meals, and some yummy bacon from Happy Hogs. That's a bit of a guilty pleasure, I love bacon!

Then I looked in my wallet and realised I still had plenty of money left, so on a whim I bought some hummus and a pot of mixed seeds to sprinkle on cereal etc. And I still hadn't broken the budget! It was time for a celebratory crepe!

I was pretty pleased with my purchases, the bread will only last a few days but the rest will easily last me a week or two. I haven't done a price comparison with the supermarket, but some things definitely seemed cheaper, and then there is the added bonus of not buying snacks and packaged food I don't really need. There are plenty of other things on offer at the Farmers Market too, from fish and venison to jam, beer, cheese and even plants and seedlings. Last year I bought my cherry tomato plants from the Farmers Market and they produced very well for me all summer.

And yes, after the shopping it was time for hummus on sour dough for lunch!

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