Farmers’ Market: My Attempt at Eating Well

We shopped at one of our local farmers’ market this weekend, though it was blazing hot and uncomfortable. We’re out of the habit of shopping there, but I’ll be better prepared next time. The Willow Glen market is open from May through November. I only recently learned that Campbell is open year round.

Campbell Farmer's Market

Campbell Farmer’s Market

I frequented the smaller Willow Glen market a few weeks ago and covered everything  in seven minutes. I hopped from shade to shade.  The downtown Campbell market is huge, spanning three of the downtown blocks with the hot sun heating the middle. Willow Glen offers produce, honey and a few bakery items.  Campbell sells hand-crafted items, five times the produce and offers live music, demonstrations and other activities. Both have their merits, but are open on different days.

After parking at the local library and making our way downtown, we made a mental list of the produce we could use for the week.

certified organic produce

Certified Organic Produce

We scouted the items we wanted as we walked from stall to stall. Two thirds of the way in, I was drooping in the heat, so we skipped the final third of the market. We made our purchases as we reversed direction, loading up on the heavy corn and flat of strawberries last.

sweet corn on the cob

A Baker’s Dozen of Corn

Resident Chef

Resident Chef

I like the feeling of shopping at an open air market. I learned a lot about eating locally grown, seasonal food from the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It’s amazing what we’ve come to take for granted.

Elephant Garlic for roasting

Elephant Garlic for roasting

Nearby Gilroy is known as the Garlic Capital of the World.

Fresh baskets of garlic

Fresh baskets of garlic

My mom was a great cook. She even wrote a couple of cookbooks, though she wasn’t able to publish them. How I wish I had a copy of one of them now. Mom wrote a book on crock pot meals, and another one called Cooking Without Mom.   We also learned to eat a lot of processed food, as it was coming into fashion at the time. It was also easier for her to line up frozen meals for the time she was away. As a result, I have a mixture of poor eating habits, born in part from necessity and at times from simply going without when the paycheck didn’t stretch quite far enough. Soda pop, chips and candy were huge, rare treats.

Now in my fifties, I still struggle with eating ‘right.’ I love fruits and vegetables and I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 18. I like junk food, too though, and will happily down a soda pop along with a bag of chips or a chocolate bar. The ‘secret’ behind my challenge of losing 15 pounds really isn’t a secret at all.

For me, eating well is all in my head. Eating poorly is also in my head, hence the ongoing struggle. Instead of the little angel/devil on my shoulder like you would see in a Tom and Jerry cartoon, I have a healthy voice and a hungry voice. One feeds my hunger and the other feeds my heart. I do battle with my ‘shoulder voices’ every day.

Are you a healthy eater or do you struggle with food choices?

Next time I shop I’ll:

  • Arrive earlier as it was just too hot
  • Bring a rolling cart to keep our hands free for shopping and paying
  • Bring small bills since most purchases are five dollars or less

 

24 thoughts on “Farmers’ Market: My Attempt at Eating Well

  1. I feel your pain on this one! I too spent years struggling with ‘I will ‘cos I can now’ and what is good for my body and soul. You put it very well when you write ‘I have a healthy voice and a hungry voice. One feeds my hunger and the other feeds my heart.’ I ate my pain for years. Constant ill health caused me to be desperate enough to make a change, just to stop the pain that had moved from my soul to my body. For me becoming healthy and well was nothing short of a miracle and while I can still go down the road of poor choices, I am aware enough of how that makes me feel to choose to be very careful about the time I spend there.

    We have apparently the best Farmers Market in the country in our small city. [It said so in a national magazine :-)] It is certainly well stocked. I don’t go very often any more but used to go every Saturday morning summer and winter. I’d rise at 6 am be there by 7 am and home again with fresh coffee and a croissant and a bag full of organic fruits and veges and cheeses and heavens knows what else [fish fresh off the trawler!] by 9 am. It’s a very popular market and going early beat the crowds and got the best of the offerings 🙂

    The cart is a good idea – I have a trundler bag bought especially for those trips to the market which I used to load up …….

    Now I get my greens from the local organic shop – pay twice as much for them and have half the amount to choose from.

    I hope you can get your timing right so that you can enjoy your time at the market and be inspired to stay on the healthy side of your diet 🙂 Have fun!! xoxo

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    • Pauline, you’re an inspiration. I can only imagine how miserable you must have felt by comparing it to my own misery around my pinched nerve. I spent a month in so much pain, debilitated and depressed and miserable. Three days a week at the physical therapist and pain meds that didn’t really work. I never wanted to go down that road again.

      You are so right: ‘I will because I can now’ was my mantra for years…even without quite realizing it. It’s so deeply entrenched. “The road of poor choices…” Well said!!!

      I’m delighted to hear about your excellent (best) Farmers Market. Did you stop going out of inconvenience? I’m glad you’re still able to get what you need locally.

      Thank you for your understanding and support. I would like to get back into a regular mediation practice, and to bring into focus eating well.

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      • I don’t know if this will be any help at all – but when I found out what particular foods are really really bad for me [i.e. poisonous] and cut them out of my diet I discovered that all the joint pains, inflammation, heart related problems, oedema, crying eyes, skin problems, bad sleep, inertia, debilitating tiredness, inexplicable body aches and pains and depression all disappeared. In other words I discovered that there is nothing wrong with my health that I cannot heal myself by making sure I eat proper food – food that is my ‘good medicine’.

        The final straw that tipped me into going down this path was when my doctor insisted I take a tablet to ‘control high cholesterol’ that was ‘the best on the market’. His tablet had violent side effects that almost killed me and when I went onto the net and did my own research I discovered that articles had been published in the British Lancet magazine two years earlier calling for the banning of this product due to the fact it was killing people! I knew then I could no longer trust the medical world to heal – I had to take responsibility for my own health and find out what was going on. My research led me towards sites and alternative nutritionists such as Food Matters, Jon Gabriel, David Wolfe and several others whose names are not in my head at the moment……… along with them and my daughter who is studying alternative nutrition I got a huge big education and turned my life around. It is pretty simple. I eat real food, nothing prepared in or by a factory, avoid grains, no wheat, no sugar, lots of full cream organic milk and soft cheeses and ‘good fats’ fresh fruit and veges. I grow my own sprouts and make my own kefirs and kombucha. I eat really well and have lost 20 kg in 18 months, feel great and have no health issues. 🙂

        I am always sad now when I hear of people with health issues, including depression, and then see what they are putting into their bodies. Making the connection between what we eat and our health both physical and mental seems to be incredibly difficult. We have been educated into believing the two are completely unrelated and that the drug companies can provide pills to cure our ills. It’s a big lie, and we do have the power!

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        • Pauline, I realize that I read this on my phone (as I often do) but didn’t get back to comment. My fingers are far too big for writing lengthy comments from my phone.

          I’m amazed at how ill you were, and what a difference diet played in your healing. It all makes perfect sense. You’ve dedicated your life to eating better, and it’s paid huge dividends in your well being, your weight loss and your outlook. Bravo!

          I’m also incredibly impressed with your clean diet, free of a lot of the things I still eat. I’m working toward a better way. I’ve kicked the soda habit (again) and I’ve curtailed my chocolate consumption as well. It’s been easy to eat fresh market strawberries, the plums, tomatoes and apricots we grew, and the fresh lettuce while it lasted (one heat wave and it bolted). Sigh.

          You inspire me in many ways. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and your success. xox

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  2. Hey Alys, you can come on over with your “resident chef” anytime, and pick up what you need in our garden! I have never been to a Farmers Market before, but I would love to go check one out! Those giant garlic bulbs were amazing as I have always wanted to roast some. I don’t know if I necessarily would say that I try to eat healthy, but we also don’t keep a lot of junk food in the house either. My food vises or cravings would be chips & salsa! Gosh, I can’t get enough of that stuff. Yum! ❤

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    • Thanks for that fabulous invitation. You’ve got the perfect garden to shop in, too. I’m so lucky to be married to a man that enjoys cooking…and who does it well.

      He baked a pie with the plums we grew, and whipped up a few batches of salsa from last season’s frozen tomatoes. We’ve been eating a lot of tomato, basil, mozzarella salads as well as a variation made with peaches (from the farmer’s market). You would love the salsa, made with heirloom tomatoes. Yum is right!

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  3. When we moved to Mainz (then West) Germany with the Army in 1984, I had my first exposure to a farmers’ market. In the shade of the 1000 year old Romanesque cathedral, the farmers would set up their stalls every Saturday and Thursday. I was in heaven. The German women carried wicker market baskets, so I got one too, trying so hard to look less American. Then, with my rudimentary German, I would ask for a “halb kilo” of “kartofflen” “bitte”…..The farmers got to know me and at a few stalls I was able to break through the reserve (disdain?). While I think that California grows the best strawberries, artichokes, and garlic, Germany had us beat with the sweetest carrots, and heavenly white asparagus (spargel). Excuse me….I’m wandering up and down the Dom Platz buying food for my family………

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  4. Strangely enough, now that I live out of town it is harder to find a good market…. the city market used to offer excellent local produce twice weekly all year round, but I rarely get there these days. Your mouth-watering pictures have reminded me I must make an effort soon and make a trip! It looks like you have a good choice there, and I hope you manage to go regularly over the summer. I do eat healthily most of the time, but it is still a battle keeping the pounds off! Junk food or chocolate does feature, but I try and keep it for special occasions. My weakness is baking, as you may have noticed on my blog!

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    • That does seem a bit backwards, doesn’t it? I suppose there is more money to be made bringing the farm to the city, than the other way around.

      We have an amazing choice, the joys of living in this agriculturally rich state. Before Santa Clara County was know for high-tech, it was known for growing all sorts of wonderful produce. We still do…just not to the same degree.

      Good for you for eating healthy most of the time. I’m not at all surprised looking at your glowing picture.

      I admire your baking abilities. All your creations look so tasty.

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  5. I think it is a battle for everyone on earth. If healthy things are in front of me I will eat them, but if i am starving it is hard to make a right decision. I have a list on my fridge of healthy snacks i like to eat so that I can look at that list (if my brain can even remember). I also like the line “If you indulge, you bulge” that slows me down sometimes.

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    • I *love* your idea of a list of healthy snacks. That seems so simple, yet I’ve never thought of it.

      I’m also delighted with your quote, “if you indulge, you bulge.’ Why yes…how did you know. ;-0

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  6. I’m am slowing getting thru my mail and low and behold I missed all the beauty that is the market you visited this day.
    I adore shopping like this too. It feels so european and liberating to be outdoors and chatting up the grower. Don’t they just love to talk about their work and/or passion. It’s great that Mike loves to cook. I sure tire of my own and it just tastes better when someone cooks for you. It sure does het hot on the pavement though, I try to wear a hat but even that makes you sweat even more. Maybe a small umbrella? Might take out an eye I suppose.
    I had to Google Daikon (on the black board over Mikes right shoulder). How pretty, white radish. I always like looking at the arts and crafts too at the downtown market here. xoK

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    • You know it does feel European, doesn’t it? It is fun chatting with the growers. The man that sold us the corn was especially interesting. They always have good tips on longevity and storage too. I can’t seem to get my return key to work in WP so sorry about all the mashed together sentences. I like the arts and crafts too, but have found I enjoy them so much better at the fall shows when it isn’t so blazing hot.

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  7. I can’t take much heat either. We’ve been sleeping in the basement on a blowup mattress because our new furniture hasn’t yet arrived. It’s got a slow leak that we can’t find so we need to add air in the middle of the night. Not very restful at all.

    My gosh, we can live much farther north, Ha. We’re almost beyond civilization here. Plus, I hear the mosquito’s are giant up up up North. Yeeesh.

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    • Oh you poor things, that sounds like misery. Our air mattresses frequently spring leaks. The last one was on the seam and took Mike several attempts to repair. It’s really hard when you don’t get a good night’s sleep.

      I get the heat thing. My complexion is meant for the British Aisles: foggy and cool, not San Jose. The summers are mostly too hot for me. I enjoy the late evenings and the longer day light, but prefer Spring and Autumn.

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