Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Small Neighborhood Markets Provide Different, Cheaper and even Organic Products

Did you know that shopping at small neighborhood markets and farmer's markets will offer a better assortment of products, many even organic? This time around I had the opportunity to visit a lot of different food marketplaces in San Francisco. What I learned, and knew is that buying local pays offs in quality and substance.
Yes, like all foodies I was drawn to the Ferry Building, which totes all sorts of gourmet and organic food products. I wasn't, however, thrilled with the prices. I knew they were over-inflated. We had just come back from driving along Big Sur, where artichokes where 12 for $1, at the oganic farms that line the coast on your drive. Here I was at the Ferry Building, looking at the absolute sticker shock of $5.99 for ONE very small artichoke. In my book, that is highway robbery. "Oh but they had to transport them there ... surely that accounts for the hefty price tag", you say. I say, absolutely not! At the farmer's market at the civic center they were 2 for $1.00 and organic, at a local produce store in the Richmond district, they were 5 for $2 and you guessed it ... Organic. Here is a tip, nothing new, but good to keep in mind. Go towards the end of the day to the farmer's market, the vendors mark everything down by up to 50% or more. A big produce bag, like the kind you get in the produce section at the grocery store, STUFFED with basil, thyme, rosemary or parsley were $1 each. Needless to say I was jonesing for a cooktop, a few pans and some olive oil to get cooking! And folks in case you think, they might mislabel the produce as organic at these lower cost markets, keep in mind, that the same flat boxes the produce come packaged in, are the exact same ones I saw at the back of the Ferry Building Marketplace. Yes, I did a little investigating of my own! The back side of any food establishment reveals a lot.
Next time you are out visiting a new city, think local, instead of trendy and not only will you save yourself some bucks, you'll also be able to try new and unusual fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

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