habits and assumptions

Eveleigh Farmers Market
Eveleigh Farmers Market

Mid-August, I wrote we shop as much as possible from farmers markets. A couple of weeks later I had cause to question that bold statement. Did we? As much as possible? Really?

You see, I’ve been following Celi from thekitchensgarden’s September Home Grown Challenge, and considering my own practices. It led me to realise, yes, I shop from farmers markets, and I’d assumed I shopped there as much as possible, when in reality I shopped there as much as was convenient.

There is a difference, and it was tied up in habits and other assumptions.

  • I cleaned our apartment on Saturday mornings while the G.O. was at work.
  • I did my morning exercise via a walk around Sydney Park, Monday to Saturday.
  • I drove my habitually stationary car every Saturday or so, to the supermarket to keep the battery charge topped up if it hadn’t been on a trip, which given our current work-life imbalance isn’t likely.
  • I assumed these habits were necessary to domestic order.

I asked myself what I do differently when I shop at the farmers market.

  • I clean the apartment on a Friday morning before I go to work, rather than going for a walk.
  • I grab my granny trolley on a Saturday morning, and walk the 4 km round trip, the return with a laden trolley, to and from Eveleigh Farmers Market.

What I don’t do differently is spend more of our grocery budget. Nor have I been throwing food out, for 2 reasons, the farmers markets vegetables keep longer than those from the supermarket, and we just love the food we are able to source from the markets. Some weeks we spend less, as instead of eating takeaway, getting home delivery or eating out, we eat in, preferring the great produce from the markets.

An unexpected bonus is I’ve stretched time. Weekend time is precious. On Saturdays, I can accomplish:

  • walking to the markets and grocery shopping.
  • driving to the supermarket for household goods, to the hairdresser or to run errands, etc.
  • a couple of loads of washing.
  • a few small household tasks.
  • a batch of snap biscuits for the G.O.’s smoko, and sometimes a cake.
  • Saturday dinner usually slow cooked or baked in the oven, which often also becomes Sunday dinner.
  • blogging and writing time.
  • a nanna nap, on occasion.
  • a domestic-duty-lite Sunday.

Some Sundays we walk to the markets at The Grounds of Alexandria and Salts Meats Cheese, where the G.O. buys salami, cheese and olives for some of his lunches rather than opting for takeaway lunch from the cafe near his worksite if there are no leftovers from home. They get double-use as his homemade Friday night pizza toppings. We also buy pizza bases, sourdough bread, and occasionally treat ourselves to Nutella or jam donuts. And, we touch base with the provenance of our food by visiting the chook pen, and saying hi to Kevin Bacon the pig and his new black face sheep companion, named Br a a a dley.

Occasionally we drive to Marrickville Organic Food and Farmers Markets for Sunday breakfast and a browse, always leaving with a laden bag. We prefer strolling, and if possible not to drive to farmers markets as it seems redundant to add more fuel miles to the produce, not to mention parking is usually impossible. This is a great market but for us it’s slightly too far for to be a convenient walk or regular market.

I also call in far less frequently at the local shops on the way home from work, saving cash and my bag carrying shoulder. Instead, I look in the fridge or cupboards to see what can be utilized. Rather than ask what do I want to eat, I consider what there is to hand.

What made me stop and assess the efficacy of my habits and assumptions was a trip to the supermarket. There was nothing there I wanted to eat. The butcher tried to be helpful but he couldn’t tell me much about the origin of the meat, and he was pretty sure there was no grass-fed-finished beef… they’d had some at one stage… I tried to replicate the farmers market but the equivalent selections were supermarket organic veges – dairy – eggs, Tassal salmon, grain finished beef… The experience, self-inflicted, put me in a very bad mood.

It only took a few weeks to create new, better, more sustainable habits; an antidote to, as Albert Einstein summed it up “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

38 thoughts on “habits and assumptions

  1. It’s so nice you are able to walk some places. (wish there was a Braaaadley around here) We find we end up buying more food at farmers markets – it all looks so good. We tend to eat a wider variety. And as you say, the grocery store trips aren’t as wonderful once you try alternatives.
    Perfect quote there at the last


    1. That is why I walk to the farmers markets, to limit the amount I buy by what I can carry, otherwise the only light object is my wallet 😉
      You would looooove Braaaadley, and Kevin.
      We are fortunate that we are a convenient walk from many things which I appreciate as I’ve lived a very different life, in the suburbs, where a car was necessary for any excursions, and the only options were malls and supermarkets.


  2. Thank you for the link ..Many people also say that the farmers markets are SO expensive, but i think that like you when you have shelled out a couple of extra dollars for something you are far less likely to be throwing it out rotton at the end of the week. You cook it and eat it and not waste it. I walked around the supermarket with my mother in law on Friday and she said , what do you need, do you want anything.. I had not been all month… um, I said looking desperately around. toothpaste, I said! I need to think about how I am going to write this up tonight without sounding sanctimonious. But I really have learnt that we NEED so little. I love that you can walk to the market. , I used to walk for miles in London and haul stuff home on my ‘Bag Shoulder’, thinking longingly of a granny trolley (my granny had one!) have gorgeous day, my friend in aussie! c


    1. It’s been fun stretching and testing new waters at the same time as you. Your toothpaste anecodote doesn’t sound sanctimonious, it’s just what happens.
      I’ve drafted a follow-up post… as I figure part of the point of doing is sharing the process because it’s always a process, nothing is absolute, and anyone can take what they want from it, as I’ve learned very well from you 🙂
      I planned to do shopping-lite last Saturday and left the granny trolley at home… now my shoulder is stuffed dammit.


  3. Lovely post, ED. And I know exactly what you mean – once you break the routine supermarket run (which we used to do several times a week to get milk and bread, and come home with heaps of other stuff), you save a lot of money, even as you pay more for higher quality ingredients at specialist suppliers. There’s more to the equation than just the cost of the item, as you so eloquently describe in your post – including time, savings on eating out and ethical considerations.


  4. We don’t have any farmers markets around us, which is a shame, they are starting to come up here and there, but for now, we have to travel too far for them. You are very lucky to have access to so many, I am envious. We love markets.


    1. Oh, I know how fortunate we are to be able to walk to Eveleigh…we lived only a couple of blocks away when it first opened, and it was heaven 🙂 Prior to that I made random trips to various markets and battled with parking.


  5. My Farmers Market is quite a distance away so I don’t get there often. When Ju and I used to go we loved the extra choices not available from the local Supermarkets like Ostrich steak or buffalo burger, so healthy, and all the organic veg. The trouble was It was always a lot dearer than anywhere else until I realised there was no wastage at all. It began to make sense finally ( except the rabbit food section. Thanks heavens for beetroot, coleslaw and salad cream).
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx


    1. I haven’t seen Ostrich steak but love buffalo sausages, mozzarella and gelato 🙂 It’s a lot more fun when the G.O. is home and can accompany me, we stroll and taste, and nibble, and taste…
      A week or so ago, there was an insect garnish option offered by the stall I regularly buy breakfast from – they assured me ants and crickets are delicious… I declined, I wasn’t that hungry, or brave 🙂


  6. Ah, you put me to shame Ella. I walked into Warrandyte once, and it almost killed me. Admittedly it was a hot day, and there were a couple of monster hills along the way, but still, I am far too lazy in far too many ways. Bravo my fried.


        1. -grin- mea culpa then! I used to enjoy the challenge of hills…back when I was a whole lot younger and fitter. These days I subscribe to the flat earth theory when it comes to walking. 🙂


    1. I’d be happier with a garden, and it is fortunate that in the middle of the city we have such a good farmers market opportunity.
      Yes, hairdresser… in my old neighbourhood, so driving distance now, and even I need a trim every few months although they’ll never make their fortune from me 😉


  7. Love the photo Elladee. Good, thought provoking article. We have no farmer’s market in Alice Springs but I have a friend who is also interested in quality of life and good wholesome food and together we try to eek out the very best organic and other foods from the grocery and health food store. She grows a few veggies and we both grow our own herbs, citrus and even have fig trees, though you know my fig is ‘in transition’. I’m not sure if I am really doing the very best I can, so I will ponder it as we wander through the Coonawarra this week. I’m excited to go to Victoria Mkts when we get to Melbourne. X


    1. Thank you 🙂 We are really fortunate to have this market close by. I remember when they planned it, rehabilitated the site (which interestingly the G.O. did – clearing out that big space in the shed) it was an experiment of sorts to see who would come both to buy and sell, and for how long. It’s been years now, and shows that people need farmers markets. Unfortunately in reality it’s not that simple to implement everywhere.
      It’s better to do what you can with what you’ve got, even better to do it with a friend, than nothing at all.
      Enjoy Coonawarra, that would be great, and I love the markets in Melbourne.


  8. I laughed while reading this because going to the grocery store has become such a drag for me too. It’s gotten to the point that we only buy non-food items at the grocery store. One thing I’ve noticed about making the switch from a traditional market to a farmer’s market is we eat way more produce, because like another reader said, everything looks so so good.


    1. I’ve just learned this, the less food that comes in the door from the supermarket, the better we live, and yes, the produce does look and taste good. We can’t always avoid it 100% and it annoys me so.


  9. There’s nothing I’d like more than to ditch the supermarket and use a farmers market, but there aren’t any local ones at all.
    We do try to support the local shops, but our best option comes from the open section of our local prison. Free range eggs, organic veg, and according to T the best meat he has ever tasted. My daughter, a strict vegetarian, who hates the idea of animals reared for meat, has actually said, at least they live the good life there.


    1. It’s the case in so many places that non supermarket produce is hard to find. I just love the option of buying from the prison. What a fantastic idea 🙂
      I love the farmers market but I so wish I had a vege garden.


  10. A thought-provoking post.

    You speak of your awareness about, “There is a difference, and it was tied up in habits and other assumptions.” As you notice the difference, do you also notice the difference between the habits you employ and the assumptions you make. As you think of these assumptions, could you say whether they are really true?



  11. “Rather than ask what do I want to eat, I consider what there is to hand.” – that’s the trick, I think, EllaDee. This is all terrific, and very timely, as I begin to figure out how to manage my new life. I loved the picture of you and the GO spending more time, side by side, preparing food together … just lovely. 🙂


    1. And it will make me a better shopper in the long run as I plan better – good luck with setting up your new pantry 🙂
      I’m glad you get it – the G.O. is somewhat bemused at my excitement about doing foodie things together 🙂


  12. There aren’t that many farmers markets around us and so I do make more use of supermarkets than anything else. I have made use of local markets in the past, but less so these days. Maybe something I should try and remedy. 🙂


    1. Sadly we are often time poor, and the supermarket offers a solution to that, and also some free range and organic. Regardless, Food shopping now seems to take a lot of due diligence, which annoys me as my mentality is stuck in the 70’s when you could go to the shops, albeit not 24 hours, and buy Food.
      All I can say is, I made a start, it got easier and I got better at it 🙂


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