HTT: How to Farmer's Market

I read a little bio of Alice Waters a day or to ago. If you don't know who she is, she's the gal who started the whole food movement in Berkeley in the 60's at her restaurant Chez Panisse.

Not to be confused with Alice Walker who wrote The Color Purple.

I always get those two confused. I'm sure there is some mnemonic that I could figure out, but who's got the time?

Anyway, Alice Waters started the whole food organic locally sourced thing.

Hooray for that.

I am not a champion or anything. My devout lust for double cheese burgers frozen and shipped from Brazil would make me a hypocrite, that and there are so many whole food concoctions that I think are just over priced and revolting.

I have certain food rules that don't fit within anyone else's ideology.

The things I prioritize: Price. Freshness. Taste. Whatever the hell I'm in the mood for.

The fourth one wins out most of the time.

The no no's: No Substitutions. No shopping at Walmart.

If I can't have gluten . . . I'm not eating bread. Simple as that.

If I can't have sugar . . . I'm not drinking a mocha.

If I use mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes it's only because my mashed cauliflower recipe is f%$#ing delicious. Same thing with refried beans, lentils, split peas, and chickpeas instead of rice, corn and tater tots.

Yes to delicious alternatives, no to wheat free crackers.

And if I want tater tots, I'm eating tater tots. That's all there is to it.

As for the Walmart rule, that was a really hard on to swallow, cause their freshness and prices are unbeatable. But in order to do so, they have to actively screw everyone involved in production, distribution, and retail.

If you ever want to lose sleep, watch a documentary about Walmart. Anyone will do.

Even Ayn Rand would be mildly disgusted. She  . . . like 45% of all Walmart employees, was also on Food Stamps.

No joke.

And I'm sure she hated every socialist second of it.

But we all gotta eat.

Anyway . . . back to food . . . one of the things that meets (sometimes exceeds) my criteria is the Farmer's Market.

Thanks in part to Alice Waters (the one who didn't write The Color Purple) Farmer's Markets are just about everywhere.

And I gotta say . . . once you get over the smell of snobs, they're pretty amazing, and I thought for today's How To Tuesday I'd give you a few tips on how to make your Farmer's Market Experience a good one.

First: If you can, walk to it.
That seems a little above and beyond, but you'll be surprised how brisk you feel on a perfect Tuesday morning, with the sun shining and a cool breeze a-blowing. Treat it like your daily exercise and it's a two-fur. Plus, it'll keep your purchasing to a minimum.

Second: Bring you own bag.
You're gonna have to get in the habit here in California anyway, might as well flex that muscle now so you can brag about how much of a model citizen you are. Your friends will envy you. Everyone wants to be a model citizen.

Third: Bring cash.
You don't have to. They all take Visa now. Hell . . . even I take Visa. But you're at an open air market in the middle of an industrialized nation, it's nice to feel provincial once in a while.

Fourth: Do not buy a damn thing until you've walked the entire market.
I know . . . the strawberries at that first booth look delightful . . . but can you really be sure those are your best bet? I promise there are going to be raspberries and cherries and all kinds of wonderful fruity delights all over the place. You've made the time already. Don't make a single commitment until you seen all the fish in the sea.

Case in point: Today I found a booth selling fresh Kale. $2.00 a bundle. That's a little less than double what I usually pay, but the stuff was greener and crispier than I'd ever seen so I was tempted to jump the gun. Had I done so I would've missed the third booth that had even fresher greener kale  for $3.00 for two bundles.

We eat a lot of the stuff, so yeah.

So take a long loop, see what's there and for what price. Make a list and then go shopping.

Lastly, let yourself be tempted by the farmers.

Ask them what's good.

They literally can't wait to tell you, and their suggestions are always out of this world. I picked up a pound of sugar peas that you can eat raw with the skin. Amazing. I will be sautéing them with a little olive oil, salt, garlic and serving them with some barbecued salmon tonight.

It's not hard to win at life.

No substitutions.

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