Thursday, April 3, 2014

Twenty Dollar Thursdays, Premiere

Welcome to my new series "Twenty Dollar Thursdays"! I am really excited about launching this series to promote eating locally and seasonally, by supporting the farmers directly by shopping at Farmer's markets in my area. Each week, I will spend a morning and $20 seeking out fresh, local, seasonal ingredients that I will then incorporate into my family's meal plan for that week. I hope to feature some of the growers and farms as the season goes on. I am lucky to live in an area that has a year-round growing season, and has Farmer's markets available year-round, rain or shine.

Week of April 3rd:
This week, I headed to my Tuesday morning market where I bought eggs, kale, apples (and apple cider), golden beets and grapefruit. I have been buying my eggs almost exclusively from the Farmer's market. They are so much fresher, and less expensive. Since Easter is on its way and I have plans to dye and decorate eggs, I bought white eggs. They also have flats of brown organic eggs for $7. I picked my kale up from First Generation Farmers. I picked up two pounds of Pink Lady apples and a pint of cider from Rainbow Orchards out of Camino. I always look for produce that I can't find at my local grocery store, so I picked up two bunches of golden beets to enjoy during the week. I picked up some grapefruits from Kennedy Farms out of Stockton. According to the farmer, this is his last week for his Oro Blanco and Mellow Gold Grapefruits to be in the market, but blueberries are coming!

The Breakdown:
Eggs: $5 for a flat (30 count)
Tuscan Kale: $2 per bunch
Apples: $4 ($2 per pound)
Fresh apple cider: $3 for a pint
Golden beets: $4 ($2 per bunch)
Grapefruit: $2 for 3

My Meal Plan for this week includes:

Baked Kale and Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Golden Beet Chips
Roasted Golden Beets with Carrots

Homemade Vanilla Crème Anglaise 

Grapefruit and Ginger Fizz

While shopping, I stopped to chat with the vendors. I love to know where my food comes from, and most vendors are willing to talk about their farm or give you tips for best using their produce. They want you, the customer, to be happy with your purchases. Besides farmer's selling their produce, the Master Gardeners were there advertising for their huge Heirloom Tomato Sale (which reminds me to build more planter boxes!), and Cookin' the Market had a booth set up showcasing spring produce.

My goal is to make fresh ingredients play a part in every meal. I hope to inspire you to think outside your grocery store with my recipes and insights, and to inspire creativity in your own kitchen!

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