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


Lawn Tree Traditions: Greening up the Neighborhood

mother and son

Mother and son

If you drop by this week, you’ll see Christmas trees up and down the block. Our neighborhood has an extensive and coordinated effort to display cut Christmas trees on our lawn each year. The trees go up the first week of December and come down New Year’s day. I’m the block captain for our street.

We try to make it a family affair, but now that our boys are teens, their interest wanes.  This year my older son did the heavy lifting along with his dad, dropping trees at each house while I drove the truck.  My youngest son asked if he could stay in bed!  So it goes.

the muscle

The Muscle

Our neighbor, Greg lends us his truck for deliveries.  I get to dust off my manual transmission driving skills once a year.  It keeps me in the game.

christmas tree bundles

Ready for delivery

The Bay Area is diverse.  Not all neighbors celebrate this tradition.  When I was a young, I wondered why one or two people wouldn’t want a tree in their yard.  Then I grew up and understood that the world is full of different religions and cultures and it all made sense.  We see Menorah in neighboring windows and understand others simply don’t embrace the ritual.  It’s a great time of year to pause and reflect on the richness of diversity.

We have an artificial tree indoors, and a cut tree on the lawn.  I wrote about the pros and cons of real vs fake last year.  You can read more about that here.

Do you celebrate Christmas?  Do you display a tree?  Real or fake…or both?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments, below.

Organized at Heart

I’m posting a series of articles featuring organizing around the holidays this month on my blog Organized at Heart. If the subject interests you, please go take a peak. Today’s blog: Holiday Storage: The Case of the Shrinking House. 

Of note: Wikipedia has a wonderful and detailed article on the origins of the decorated Christmas tree.  I’m always learning something new on that site and must remember to make my annual donation accordingly.