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.”