Saturday, February 21, 2009

Market Day Part 1

I make the trip to the West Side Market, about 30 minutes from me, every week or two, usually on Fridays. They are only open Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday. Saturdays and holiday weeks are just too crowded for me; it's much more pleasant during the weekdays.

My first (or last, depending on how much I am buying) stop is The Basketeria. The selection is fantastic, the organics reasonably priced, and the fresh herbs and peeled garlic are a steal at $1 each. Plus Tom and Anita and the rest of their staff are among the nicest, friendlist people at the market. Always a pleasure to load a cart here.

It's easy to get sucked into 'buy this - get this' from the fruit vendors especially, but I've learned not to go too crazy buying more than I can possibly consume in a month, let alone a week. This is my go to spot for fruit and berries. She's friendly and always takes good care of me. The other thing I like about shopping the market is that they will almost always offer you a taste. If they tell you 'it's very sweet' (a common chant), they'll back it up.

I am testing a recipe for Cook's Illustrated magazine this weekend which requires a large quantity of portobello mushrooms. This is where I purchased them. Plus two of those artichokes. I've never cooked a fresh one and that's about to change.

So here's what I ended up with:

Pineapple, papaya, quart of strawberries, two pints of blueberries, 3 plums & ten oranges - $16

8 Large Portobellos and 2 fresh artichokes - $15

Head of green cabbage ($1 clearance bin), 2 large orange and 1 red bell pepper bagged for $1 in the clearance bin, 3 organic avocados, container of peeled garlic, fresh oregano, arugula, 3 large butternut squash, head of fresh fennel, green onions, pound of brussel sprouts, 3 habanero peppers (25 cents), # of baby bellas, and 3 vine tomatoes. Total $23

One of these days I will run a comparison at the supermarket, but it's worth the drive to me. I like the quality, I like the prices, and I like interacting with and supporting small business owners.

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