On the rare weeks when I’m not able to patronize the Charlotte Regional Farmer’s Market, I shudder at paying $2.50 for a red pepper at my local supermarket. My blog today is a shout out to the hardworking farmers and vendors who make that market run year round. Don’t get me wrong – shopping there during the winter months is nowhere as good as the produce in early April to late November. But even though many vendors are selling produce that is not locally grown at this time of year, the bargains are still amazing.
Case in point. We had a surreal surprise snowfall this morning. While we all know that March can be tricky in the Carolinas, we certainly weren’t expecting snow in Fort Mill today! I enlisted my sweet husband to take me to the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market after our morning workout because even though I grew up in Cleveland, I’ve grown to hate driving in the snow in the Carolinas.
The market was almost deserted when we got there around 12:30 and most everyone was eager to go home. Here is a sample of the deals I got today:
- Organic Earthbound Farms Romaine – 3 heads to a package – for just a buck. (Yes, I bought two – they looked very fresh, were still in date, and I’ll take the second package to my mom who at 87 eats a green salad every day. The same package is $3.99 in my grocery store.)
- Red peppers – 50 cents. (Yep, the same kind that would have set me back $2.50 each. And yes, I bought 4 at this price, because red peppers make every dish more colorful!)
- Fennel – two bulbs for a buck.
- Pint tub of colored baby sweet peppers – just a dollar.
- New red potatoes – 50 cents per pound.
- Sweet onions – 99 cents per pound.
- Roma tomatoes – 79 cents per pound.
- Shallots – $1.50 a bag.
- Close to a pound of small white mushrooms for $2.00.
- Gorgeous baby purple cabbages – 59 cents per pound.
- Butternut squash – 89 cents per pound.
- 5 large lemons for a dollar.
- Florida strawberries – $2.00 for the same quart that is “on sale” in my grocery store for $3.50.
- Large bunch of beets with very fresh looking beet greens – $2 per bunch.
- Nova’s Bakery – buy one get one free on all their delicious bread that had been baked fresh that morning.
Do you see what I mean about patronizing your local market – even in the winter? If you are lucky enough to live somewhere where your market stays open year round, make sure you don’t forget about the produce vendors, as well as the bakers and canners who make their living selling food. Many of them have a tough time in the winter. While I always prefer buying locally raised produce during our long and abundant growing season, I still love to save money on fresh produce by patronizing my local market throughout the winter.