December 12 Food Haul

More food to nourish the body.

First stop: Wheatsville Co-op

  • IMG_20151212_112400Red potatoes, 1.66 pounds: $1.98
  • Red bell pepper, 0.27 pounds: $0.81
  • Pecans, 1.26 pounds: $6.29
  • Pomegranate x1: $1.99
  • Carrots, 1.53 pounds: $2.28
  • Toilet paper x2: $1.38
  • Corn flakes, 0.46 pounds: $2.43
  • Jasmine rice, 1.26 pounds: $3.77
  • Eggs x12: $3.00
  • American cheese, 0.41 pounds: $2.90

Total: $26.94

The bell pepper feels like a cheat because no one has those at the farmers market anymore and I have no idea where this one came from, but I really wanted to try out a dirty rice recipe and it requires a bell pepper. At least I didn’t buy the box of Zatarain’s.

This is the first time I’ve bought carrots from the Co-op too. It’s difficult to understand how these are only $1.49 a pound there but $3 for a half-pound bundle at the farmers market. Maybe because they don’t have the tops? Or because it’s easier for the farmers to sell in bulk rather than stand around at the market all day. Either way these carrots are just as delicious as any I’ve bought, so it’s likely that I’ll choose the Co-op next week also for my carrot supply. With this price, it’s way easier to pig out on carrots, which can’t possibly be a bad thing.

Next Stop: Downtown Farmers Market

  • IMG_20151212_111134Whole chickens, 6 pounds: $27.00
  • Tomatoes, 1 basket: $5.00
  • Watermelon radish, 1 bunch: $2.75
  • Cauliflower, 1.75 pounds: $3.50
  • Kale, 1 bunch: $3.00
  • Brocolli, 2 heads: $6.00
  • Mushrooms, 0.73 pounds: $4.00

Total: $51.25

Don’t worry, I have no plans to eat two whole chickens in a single week. They went straight in the freezer and may last us up to a month. As with the ground beef last week, I don’t want to risk my favorite meat vendors taking a day off over the holidays and leaving me unsatisfied.

Nothing new this week, although this is the first time I’ve bought cauliflower at a farmers market (with the intention of making some of that cauliflower fried rice that looks so appetizing on other blogs).

When starting my local shopping experiment, I never expected to be buying fresh tomatoes in December but with large hoop houses and mild Texas winters I’m in luck. These red beauties are from Engel Farms, who also grow some mouth-watering canary melons in warmer weather.

December 5 Food Haul

Another week, another replenishment of the food supply.

First stop: Wheatsville Co-op

  • IMG_20151205_111448Blackberries, 6 oz: $2.99
  • Garlic, 0.14 pounds: $0.81
  • Cheddar cheese, 0.55 pounds: $3.35
  • Ginger root, 0.08 pounds: $0.44
  • Toilet paper x2, $1.38
  • Brown rice, 1.24 pounds: $3.46
  • Oats, 0.67 pounds: $0.80
  • Soy milk, half gallon: $3.59
  • Tofu, 14 ounces: $2.29

Total: $19.22

Lots of single-use packaging today. Tofu is probably one of the least appetizing “foods” to me, but picking it up was my husband’s idea. He’s on board for reducing consumption of animal products but is still big on always having a component of the meal classified as “meat”. However, the blackberries were totally my fault–a binge buy but delicious.

Next Stop: Downtown Farmers Market

  • IMG_20151205_112150Ground beef, 2 pounds: $17.00
  • Green onions, 1 bunch: $3.00
  • Carrots, 1 bunch: $3.00
  • Watermelon radish, 1 bunch: $2.75
  • Lemon: $1.00
  • Kale, 1 bunch: $3.00
  • Mushrooms, 1.09 pounds: $6.00
  • Broccoli, 2 heads: $6.00

Total: $41.75

A lot of my standard purchases. The ground beef is going straight in the freezer and should last us for a while. After all, you don’t want to have to make a mad rush to the supermarket when your favorite vendor misses a week unplanned.

My new-to-me produce item of the month is the watermelon radish. As a special bonus, I’ve also never eaten the lacinto variety of kale. As long as they bear some taste resemblance to their cherry radish and curly kale cousins, all should be delicious.

At the end of shopping, there was a single dollar left in my hand. I had been unsure of whether or not to get some of the $1 lemons that popped up in one of the booths, but the single remaining dollar was a sign and I picked the yellowest most juicy looking one. I’ll freeze the juice in the extra ice tray to have a quick single-serve lemonade whenever.

Final Stop: My backyard

No photo this week, but I only harvested a few small radishes. At least I also washed the leaves this time and packed them with various other goodies for my salad at work tomorrow.

Plus, I finally got around to planting a few other areas with carrot, radish, and lettuce seeds. If this pleasant weather sticks around for a while, it’ll be great to eat truly fresh picked produce.

November 28 Food Haul

After the excesses of Thanksgiving, it’s time to get back to the basics.

First stop: Wheatsville Co-op

Bulk goods plus other goodies.

  • IMG_20151128_110231Celery, 1.18 pounds: $1.05
  • Garlic, 0.11 pounds: $0.60
  • Cheddar cheese, 0.55 pounds: $3.35
  • Graham crackers, $3.99
  • Toilet paper x2, $1.38
  • Brown rice, 1.15 pounds: $3.21
  • Corn flakes, 0.42 pounds: $2.22
  • Peanuts, 0.86 pounds: $3.43
  • Lentils, 0.69 pounds: $1.17
  • Corn meal, 0.45 pounds: $0.67
  • Soymilk, half-gallon: $3.49
  • Eggs, 12 count: $3.00
  • Toothpaste: $4.79

Total: $32.86

The clay-based toothpaste is a first, so fingers crossed that it actually works well for both me and my husband. The graham crackers of course I could have done without, but I’ll blame that on Thanksgiving for spoiling me.

Next Stop: Downtown Farmers Market

  • IMG_20151128_104659Tomatoes, 1 basket: $5.00
  • Carrots, 1 bunch: $3.00
  • Onions, 1 bunch: $3.00
  • Mushrooms, 1.09 pounds: $6.00
  • Kale, 1 bunch: $3.00
  • Spaghetti squash, 3 pounds: $7.00
  • Broccoli, 2 heads: $5.00
  • Chicken, 3.56 pounds: $16.00

Total: $48.00

There were only about half the number of booths at the farmers market this week, maybe because they’re still on holiday or maybe because we had our first freeze of the season earlier this week. These may be the last of the farmers market tomatoes, but the broccoli and kale looked really delicious already. This week I also remembered to make some carrot top pesto when I got home rather than waiting for the tops to get all droopy.

Seeing the price of this haul kind of makes me question how sustainable farmers markets really are, though. Sustainable from the perspective that it may not make sense for everyone to do it, even if the farmers kept up. After all, it would have been way cheaper to buy whatever conventional, shipped in produce is available at the H-E-B. At the same time, I realize it may just feel that way because Americans are so accustomed to cheap prices while every other country is willing to spend a higher percentage of their income on food. But, how do you convince someone to pay more when they have other options?

Final Stop: My backyard

IMG_20151128_112210

I should have harvested the immature peas while I had the chance. Checking on them this morning, they were the most miserable looking plants ever. The frost and continued cooler weather destroyed the few pods that had grown, so those two peas I ate earlier will be the only two for the year.

At least there were a few little radishes out there to much on. Time to put some more radish seeds out and maybe more carrot seeds also, since those should be able to grow all winter here.

November 14 Food Haul

First stop: Wheatsville Co-op

So I may have gone a bit overboard with the co-op shopping this week, as I actually stopped there twice over the weekend. But I wanted to see if I could find all the items that I’d normally pick up from the supermarket.

  • Wheatsville Coop groceriesIMG_20151115_093148Celery, 1.27 pounds: $1.26
  • Smoked Provolone, 0.71 pounds: $4.25
  • Marinara sauce x2: $5.00
  • Corn tortillas: $1.49
  • Toilet paper: $0.69
  • Corn flakes, 0.44 pounds: $2.33
  • Brown rice, 0.67 pounds: $1.33
  • Popcorn, 1.23 pounds: $2.45
  • Soy sauce, $1.99
  • Flour, 5 pounds: $3.99
  • Pretzel shells: $3.49
  • Toilet paper: $1.49
  • Jasmine rice, 1.23 pounds: $3.68
  • Barley, 0.54 pounds: $0.97
  • Rolled oats, 0.38 pounds: $0.45
  • Milk, 1 gallon: $5.99
  • Eggs, 12 count: $3.00

Total: $44.03

Feel free to chastise me about this Pretzel Shells product. I had planned to pick up a bag of pretzel sticks from the supermarket to satisfy my mid-day munchies and keep me away from worse things. But of the many varieties of pretzels at the Co-op almost all were gluten free–not my expected wheat-based pretzels. So I tried these and though they were kind of tasty, they left me with the buyer’s remorse. Yup, even during Buy Nothing New 2015, I can still walk away with that disappointment because of the lack of satisfaction from this snack food and a feeling of failure at buying so much excessive packaging. (When they say “shells”, they really do mean just the shell of the pretzel. It’s mostly air in that bag.) Next time I’ll opt for a special snack from the bulk bins.

See the eggs? Package-free eggs are one of the great things about the Co-op. They’re pretty cheap at just $0.25 each, so although they’re labeled as local and cage-free it’s still possible those chickens are all crammed into a depressing windowless building. I may have to switch to the farmers market for eggs at some point.

There’s a lot of other packaging in those pictures, though, so lots of room to improve. I haven’t taken a close look at the tortillas yet, but I’m crossing my fingers that it’s something unterrible. And if not, hey, I’ll learn.

Next Stop: Downtown Farmers Market

  • IMG_20151114_114223Bell peppers x2: $0.50
  • Onions, 1 bunch: $3.00
  • Tomatoes, 1 basket: $5.00
  • Mushrooms, half pound: $2.75
  • Cabbage, 2.25 pounds: $4.50
  • Cucumber, 1 pound: $3.00
  • Goat milk, 1 quart: $6.00
  • Chicken, 3.84 pounds: $17.30

Total: $42.05

The splurge this week was some goat milk from Swede Farms since I’ve never tried that before. It was a bit thicker than I’m used to but with a very rich creamy flavor that thankfully tasted nothing like goat. This milk probably would have made some great pudding, but my husband guzzled it all down long before there was a chance of that.

Several of those tomatoes were soon blended up in the Magic Bullet and added to some arroz con pollo. Package-free tomato sauce. Much more of a success story than the marinara sauce pictured above. By the way, if you’re discouraged by complicated tomato sauce recipes you’ve read online, I’ve found most of that to be unnecessary. Wash them up, halve or quarter them and blend until they’re the consistency you want. I just wish package-free was less expensive, may have to try growing my own tomatoes next year.

Final Stop: My backyard

There’s not much in the garden ready for harvest right now, but I savored what was there. One small spicy radish sliced very thinly so I could handle the heat. And a pea pod that I just couldn’t wait to sample. The peas obviously hadn’t filled out the pod though, but they were sweet, dense, and very pea-tasting. It always surprises me when sampling something straight from the garden just how different it tastes from supermarket food. And immensely more satisfying, even if it is just a wee little veggie.

I probably won’t make my regular shopping rounds next weekend due to holiday travelling and to make sure this deliciously curated food doesn’t go to waste.

November 7 Food Haul

First stop: Wheatsville Co-Op

I stopped here for the first time last weekend and it’s already a regular stop on my weekly shopping trip. Partly because of this:

IMG_20151107_081530

I’ve shopped regularly at other stores that allow you to use your own containers but none that actually promotes it. So I brought along a few jars for the bulk bins and got a few other necessities. The tomato and onions turned out to not be necessary here because they were at the farmers market too but I wasn’t willing to take that risk.

  • IMG_20151107_105958Pecans, 1.83 pounds: $9.13
  • Onions, 0.85 pounds: $1.69
  • Tomato, 0.38 pounds: $0.76
  • Jalapeños, 0.06 pounds: $0.24
  • Cheddar cheese, 0.59 pounds: $3.59
  • BBQ Sauce, 16 oz: $3.99
  • Toilet paper, 2 rolls: $1.38
  • Wild rice blend, 0.76 pounds, $4.55
  • Corn flakes, 0.67 pounds, $3.54

Total: $28.98

I may have gone a little overboard with the pecans, but hey I’m a Texan. The neighborhood pecan trees have just dropped their final pecans and I haven’t had nearly enough. You can see from the picture below that these nuts are so much plumper than my scavenged finds. And at $4.99 a pound, I end up getting more pecan meat for my money than the $13+ per pound for pecan meat from the bulk bins. Yumm.

IMG_20151107_112244

Next Stop: Downtown Farmers Market

  • IMG_20151107_105236Long beans: $2.50.
  • Chuck roast, about 2 1/2 pounds: $20.90.
  • Persimmons, one basket: $5.
  • Carrots: $9.
  • Mushrooms, half pound: $2.75
  • Spaghetti squash: $3.

Total: $43.15

This is my first time buying a roast from the farmers market and I’ve never eaten persimmons or spaghetti squash at all, so this will be an adventurous week. The glut of carrots is for a birthday cake.

Seeing as today’s a nice cool, drizzly day, it’s a perfect time to make some soup and finish up some of last week’s score.