Part of being able to have great left overs is to be able to stock your refrigerator and pantry well. So that you can be as creative as you want without having to go grocery shopping for every meal. One of the best places to do this is the Farmers Market. I’m a huge fan of the Union Square Green Market here in New York.
Your options are almost limitless. Not to mention you are supporting local agriculture, sustainable farming practices, and buying direct from the source. Some people may think that buying from farmers markets is expensive, but I don’t think so. Sure there are some items that are more expensive than we’re used to, like tomatoes. You can find them at the farmers market for about $4.75 a pound while at the super market you can get them for $1.99 But when you taste them, it’ll all make sense.
To some it may be shocking to know that a tomato can have so much flavor, and to others it reminds them of what tomatoes tasted like when they were young.
Tomatoes cost so much because it is very time consuming for a farmer to grow them. Not only do the tomato vines need to be propped up, but they need to be given compost (natural fertilizer) regularly, weeded and (the most important part) picked when ripe. Todays supermarket tomato is mostly picked before it is even near starting to ripen, which is why they are flavorless. After the farmer picks them, the tomatoes need to be transported safely so they do not get bruised before being sold. Think to yourself that there is a similar reason as to why other things cost so much as well, and remember there aren’t machines doing all the work like most large scale farming, it is done by people.
Just like shopping in a grocery store you have to survey your options, there are several farmers selling the same things. Many times a farmer will sell their stuff at a significantly cheaper price, or they will have a “2 for 1” sale. It is definitely worth looking around before buying the first thing you see.
There are also other things that counter the tomatoes hefty price, such as a bunch of carrots (usually 8-10) for two dollars, herbs for one dollar, the sweetest corn you’ve had in a long time 3 for a dollar, or a bunch of kale (usually more than you need) for two dollars. It is these moments that my love of left overs starts to kick in. As i’m shopping I look over at the kale and think “do I need all this?…well… I can braise 1/2 of it with some ham..have enough to make a kale soup with the left overs..and then with the other half I can make a salad”.
So if you want to make the most out of your left overs, and have the most fun cooking, look into the farmers markets and think a head a couple of days while you shop and stick up your refrigerator. It will motivate and inspire you to cook.
How do you feel about Farmer’s Markets?