Monday, February 29, 2016

Experience the Farmer's Market.

Sunday is when our local community host's a Farmer's Market. It's a great place to find fresh, organic, and locally harvested fruits, vegetables, eggs, honey, nuts, flowers, herbs, and meats. Among the farm grown produce, you will also be greeted by a beautiful array of handmade jewelry, clothes, and artwork. The Farmer's Market is also an amazing place to find new hot sauces, spreads, breads, and juices. If you ever get the chance to go to the Hillcrest Farmer's Market in San Diego, California, check out Bitchin' Sauce. Oh man, you'll get hooked! The market even has a seperated food stand "aisle", where you are given many choices for your overally zealous taste buds. Authentic taco's with watermelon water, African jerk chicken, or even some delicious cheesecake for those dessert lovers. I can honestly say, that every type of food they have, is delicious. I've either tried them all personally or known someone to rave about an item. I couldn't personally try some of them, due to peanut allergies. 

The overall experience of a Farmer's Market, - at least the one's I've been too - is generally a very laid back vibe. Music is always playing, people sample the blood oranges, and kids get to pick out their favorite "Wacky Quackies". Everyone's just basking in the sunlight enjoying the easy going company of those all around, including the ones lounging on the nearby lawns with their chosen meals. It's a calm experience for me, which is saying A LOT since I suffer from anxiety in heavy crowds. I do go at 9am, which is when they first start, but even when the foot traffic picks up, it never feels overwhelming for me. Therefore, I keep going.

Now, many people steer clear of such events, because some vendors tend to hike their prices up, "just because the tomatoes were grown in their backyard", as I heard someone comment. What some might not know, is that this simply isn't the case with EVERY vendor. In fact, I tend to find a few things that I'd rather purchase at the market than the grocery stores. The key is to not buy at first sight. Walk down the aisle(s) to compare prices. Sometimes a bunch of strawberries can cost $4 while the vendor down a few spots, is offering the same size bunch of strawberries, for $3. It's all about being aware of your surroundings. 

This past Sunday we decided to go to the Farmer's Market AFTER lunch - only because my son was craving a burger from our favorite restaurant, Lazy Dog - so we didn't have any of the Farmer's Market eats, but we DID pick up a few of our "necessities". It's a necessity, because it's necessary for us to buy them whenever we go to the Farmer's Market. Like I mentioned before, I have bought produce at the Farmer's Market instead of at the grocery store, but I don't make it a necessity. Also, I should mention we don't go to the Farmer's Market EVERY Sunday. I like to eat too many of their desserts, which leaves me in a bind money wise, so I only take my son when it's within budget or we've eaten before hand.

One of my favorite things to buy at the Farmer's Market, is the homemade apple cider. I know you can buy apple cider at the grocery store, BUT IT'S NOT THE SAME I TELL 'YA! It's filled with this delicious flavor that brings back childhood memories of Christmas', Thanksgivings and Easters, seeing as how we only had apple cider during those times. They even have CHERRY apple cider. At $3 a pint, I can reminisce on all the memories while coating my taste buds with liquid gold.

Then there's the heirloom tomatoes. My son strongly dislikes them, but I absolutely devour them. I eat them with salt and pepper, create a flavorful sauce out of them, add them to my sandwiches, and the best of all, I make a heirloom tomato salad with Garlic oil. One bite and the deliciousness has landed!!!! Heirlooms are sold at Trader Joe's, but I only buy these occasionally or else I'll have tomatoes all week. Don't judge me. The tomato is nature's oddball fruit, just like me! So I tend to only buy them at the Farmer's Market. Plus, they give out samples of these bad boys, which I am powerless too. 

One thing I often check out but don't purchase, are herbs. I currently have three herbs that I consider my little green babies. Oregano, chocolate mint, and rosemary.I cherish them greatly. I use them constantly and they never fail me. I do think about purchasing more, but first I would need to figure out a safe spot for the new additions, seeing as how my window sill can only attend to three at a time. Possibly in the future, I'll look more into the dynamics of growing on the patio, but we have very rude birds, who like to eat whatever I put out there. So, I've avoided bringing any new plants to our home, in order to save them from outside torment, BUT I recommend checking out the herbs they have. They are all organic and ready for new homes. We had a strawberry plant from here, and it grew really well with the sweetest strawberries, and then...the birds attacked. They found out we had delectable fruit easily accessible and immediately took hold of our red beauties. RIP strawberries. You are missed. 
Another thing I don't purchase but browse, is jewelry. I'm a big DIY-er and minimalist, so buying a bunch of earrings and necklaces isn't my thing and if I do want a new pair, I create my own. I used to own a few store bought earrings, but I never wore them due to being a breastfeeding mom, whose little cub loved pulling on things. Since I didn't feel like having my earring holes ripped, I stayed clear of any "bling". I got used to it and never looked back unless it's for special occasions, but whenever I bring fellow body decorators (people who wear jewelry), they fall in love with all the unique pieces spread throughout the market. The colors and style are fit for almost any outfit and mood. Plus, the prices are not too shabby! 

The one thing my son consistently "reminds" me to check out, is Wacky Quackies. A bunch of character designed rubber duckies. He's been going to the Farmer's Market since he was a baby, and always adored his new bath toy additions. As he got older, he started to "earn" his money by doing chores, in order to pay for his new found desire. A duck collection. That's right. My son collects rubber ducks. Well, that and zombie paraphernalia. I'm so proud. Sniff sniff. He's even decided to display them proudly in his room. 

Don't get me wrong, a few of these little quackers join us EVERY bath time, rotating each "group" every time. He even cleans and dries each one afterwards. My kid's 4 and has already organized which ducks join him in the bubble pit for which days. Organization is strong with this one. I've done well. These ducks are $3 for one or three for $5. My son often chooses three. (Gee, I wonder why). They have different designs almost every week, with a few reoccurring ones. Personally I think they're adorable and would love to display them on the bookcase in the living room, but he's shown great restraint to that idea, as they are his "special ducks". I understand. I keep my special chocolate in my room, so I don't fight him on it. 

All throughout the Farmer's Market, you'll see beautiful, authentic art, with the artists themselves selling their work. I think it's an amazing place to add to your wall collection of eclectic pieces of decor. I've bought a few myself and even had my dog's face drawn to immortalize her on my wall. 

I truly think that the Farmer's Market has something for everyone. Whether you want a delicious meal for your lunch date, looking to find a new cleansing green juice, shopping for fresh fish and veggies, or just want to find a new purse for day-to-day use that's as beautiful as you are, you can do it all. You can even get a hot brewed cup of joe from the Farmer's Market, to accompany you in all your endeavors, whether your day ends at the market or not. You'll also be supporting local business owners with every purchase and I think that's the cherry on top. 

What are some things you can't leave the Farmer's Market without? 

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