Eating Locally

I’ve been visiting the Pearl Farmer’s Market and tried the new Quarry Farmers and Ranchers Market recently too.   I’m really enjoying getting produce and some other things that are super fresh and come from local area farmers and vendors.  Thanks to the example set by one of my daughters, I’m trying to go more organic as well.   It’s a learning experience!  Here are a few things I’ve learned:

1. Organic really does taste better!  I resisted the “organic thing” for a long time because of the extra cost.  A tomato’s a tomato, right?  Wrong!  There really is a difference–in taste, in appearance, in just about every way, including price.  But, the saying is true–you get what you pay for!   For a few extra cents, I’ve decided it’s worth it to get a tomato or a leek or an apple or potatoes that have flavor!  And a bonus–no pesticides or other questionable chemicals included!

2. Fresh from the local farm does not look like what I’m used to seeing in the grocery store!  It’s not all “prettied up”, it may still have dirt on it (how’s that for fresh?), it may not be as big or as picture-perfect as the produce in the store.  There’s a reason for that–it hasn’t been altered, sprayed, and otherwise manipulated to look pretty but taste like nothing.

3. Buying fresh means you gotta have a plan to use it!  Without all the preservatives and other “tricks of the trade” that keep produce in the store looking good and staying “fresh” for extended periods of time, real fresh produce is meant to be consumed–like now!  You might get a couple of days in the fridge, but fresh from the farm is not meant to sit around and wait for you to get inspired!  I must admit that I’ve had to toss a few things here and there because I waited too long to use it and it went bad.  So, if you’ve got a few days coming up when you know you’re not going to be in the kitchen, consider waiting to get the really fresh stuff until you have time to prepare it.

4. Buying directly from the farmer is a great opportunity to try something new.  Chances are, your farmer is happy to give you some ideas on how to prepare what you’ve decided to try.  And they’re usually happy to hear your ideas too!

5. As an empty nester with only 1 mouth to feed now, I appreciate being able to purchase in smaller quantities and have more variety.

6. I love the other items I find at the farmers’ markets–fresh eggs, baked goods, homemade jams & jellies, fresh meat (haven’t actually tried this yet, but I’ve heard wonderful things about it from friends who have), flowers, herbs, and other goodies!

7. Not everything at a farmers market is certified organic and not everything organic in the store comes straight from the farm.  But, to repeat what I said in #1, organic tastes better!  Fresh from the farm tastes better.  And when you combine those two and find organic produce at a farmers market–wow!

I hope you’ll visit a farmers market this weekend wherever you live.  And if that’s not possible, try the organic variety of your favorite fruit and/or veggie.  I bet you’ll agree with me on flavor!



A New Market to Try

San Antonio has a brand new farmer’s market.  June 5 was its grand opening.  It’s the Quarry Farmers and Ranchers Market, to be held every Sunday morning from 8:00 am – noon.  It’s in the parking lot at the Quarry Market, near Whole Foods.

I’m sorry to say I missed the opening day.  Check out pictures at for some great shots of folks having fun and of lots of great-looking fruits and veggies.  This looks to be a great addition to the farmers’ market scene here in San Antonio.  I love the Pearl Farmers Market held every Saturday morning!  It’s gotten so popular that they’ve added a Wednesday afternoon edition as well.  Now comes the Quarry market on Sundays.  There are also lots of other smaller venues around town, some held during the week and some on weekends.  It’s so much fun to check out these different markets and have a chance to really talk to the folks who grow what they’re selling!  And, I’ve discovered that there really is a difference between what you buy fresh out of the ground and what you find at the grocery store!  Fresh just tastes so much better, and I have to believe it’s better for you!

I also love that I’m supporting local farmers and small businesses.  I have a new appreciation for the work that goes into what they do and I have certainly enjoyed the “fruits of their labors”–literally!  What a great way to spend part of the weekend.  And then to go home and use what I’ve purchased.  Buying fresh is making a commitment to prepare and consume what I’ve just bought–it doesn’t last forever!

Hope you’ll check out this new venture.  I’m going to!  See you there!

Farmer’s Markets, part 2

OK, it’s  the middle of the week.  This is a good time to plan a trip to a farmer’s market or markets this coming weekend.  The last post gave you a website where you can find out more about my favorite one–Pearl Farmer’s Market at the repurposed former Pearl Brewery near downtown.  There are others around San Antonio as well, and days vary, so I encourage you to find one near you that’s open at a time that fits your schedule.

Oak Hill Farm at the Pearl Farmers Market, courtesy of

Oak Hill Farm at the Pearl Farmers Market, courtesy of

If you’re a “newbie” to farmer’s markets, there are a few “tricks of the trade” that will make your experience even more fun.  You’ll figure them out eventually, but why not save yourself some of that learning curve?  Here are some hints that I’ve found helpful!

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A hint of fall!

Wow–it actually felt a little like fall this morning!  I was up early to let my cats out and was shocked to feel cool air outside!  It felt wonderful, and the kitties sure enjoyed it!  It’s a hint of fall–only a hint!  Normal August/September weather will return and hang around for a few more weeks, but now there’s something to look forward to!  FALL!!

When the seasons change, I always like to try new recipes, wear some different clothes, and go someplace new around town.  I’ve enjoyed visiting the Pearl Farmer’s Market over the last year since it opened.  It’s really grown and developed a loyal following.  It’s been an education for me to truly taste the difference between fresh produce and what I buy at the grocery store.  The Pearl complex is evolving, growing, and expanding, just like the Farmer’s Market.  There are some wonderful restaurants and stores there.   I have a friend who’s anxiously waiting to move into an apartment that’s currently under construction in the complex.

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