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$10 at the Farmer's Market

I found myself at the Farmer's Market today and realized I only had $10 on me. I could have left and hit the ATM, but parking is hard to come by at the market. So I decided to stretch my $10 and see what I could get.

I ended up getting:
1 bunch cilantro $.50
1 bunch basil $1.00
1 1/2 lb Gala apples $2
3 ears white corn $1
1 bunch radishes $.75
1 bunch green onions $.35
1 avocado $.75
1 loaf Jalepeno Cheese bread $3.50

I spent $9.85 and got a pretty decent selection I think. I only cook for 2 adults and a toddler, so I don't buy much at one time anyway. I wanted to get some marche and spring mix but it was a toss up between that and the bread, and the bread won (this week at least).

what would you buy if you only had $10 on you?

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  1. What farmers' market did you go to?

    1 Reply
    1. That's what I love about Farmers Markets, good eats- CHEAP

      1. This is interesting. I while ago someone posted about spending something like $80ish at a farmers market and coming away with next to nothing.

        I couldn't understand how that could be. I used live paycheck to paycheck for many years, and would head out to the green market in Union Square in NYC on Saturdays with about $20 and come away with a load of stuff to last me through cooking many meals.

        I guess it has to do with knowing your ingredients, and how to use them effectively.


        2 Replies
        1. re: sivyaleah

          Hi Laurie that was my post on the $80 Farmer's Market trip. I have to admit that day I did buy some expensive items such as raw cream, flowers and other high end lettuce mixes. It was an impulse day and I was buying what I liked and not necessarily everything what was in-season at that moment. However, the Encino farmers market to me is predominantly organic produce and very expensive. I am seeking out other options and doubt I'll head back there. When I used to attend the Chatsworth market 1-2 years ago, I would never spend more than $30-40 and come home with 6-7 bags of produce. However, I personally think that $10-20 is a stretch for the average Farmers Market take home.

          1. re: davinagr

            I shop the Studio City market on Sunday, usually spend $30 or so (but I tend to plan my meals around the market rather than the other way round) and tend to come away with two cloth sacks stuffed absolutely to the brim.

            There's no dairy sold at the Studio City market, though, so you'd need to source your cream elsewhere. There IS fish, though I don't know if it's any good.

        2. I would guess that I spend around $10 to $15 at a time when I shop at a farmers market. For that I get a huge amount of veggies, sometimes some cheese. I think you can easily spend more if you want something exotic - right now raspberries are showing up in our markets (Boston) and these are pricey. I bought some tiny baby carrots a couple of weeks ago. They were $2 for about 6 ounces. If I wanted these to be a side dish by themselves it would have costed more than I wanted to spend.

          For my $10-$15 I usually get 2-3 heads of lettuce, some herbs (basil, cilantro, sometimes mint or sage), a handful of tomatoes, some other vegetables to cook - most recently bok choy, pea shoots, kale.

          If you buy meat or fish it can run your total up quickly. I haven't tried either yet, but I've been told that some of the vendors have excellent selections so I might be spending more pretty soon.

          1. That's difficult to answer because it is a matter of seeing what the low cost items are and the season.

            It is possible to get out of the most expensive farmers markets, even SF Ferry Plaza for $10 if shopping carefully.

            The key would not buying bulk, but one or two items. Greens are usually inexpensive, as are root vegetables. There is a lot of sampling so I would sample a lot for the best.

            There was this homeless guy who shopped at Ferry Plaza. He had a wok he carried with him. He refused discounts, money or free food. He paid his own way and his cart was always full by time he finished.

            Theoretically for $10 at Ferry Plaza ..

            - Heirloom garlic bulb from Small Potatoes - $.50
            - Lovely summer squash from Balakian Farms - $1 worth
            - a piece or two of seasonal fruit from Hamada - $1
            - lettuce with edible flowers from Happy Boy - $2.50
            - Interesting or root veggie from Mariquiita - $2 worth
            - Herb from White Crane Farm - $1
            - Muffin or some sort of small baked good - $2

            1. I usually go to the Farmer's Market armed with no more than $20, and leave with plenty of food (in Southern CA--Westwood, Brentwood). I think the trick is buying whatever is in season--that's always the cheapest, and it's also usually what tastes the best. I usually get some fruit (white peaches, pluots, strawberries, apples), tomatoes, cucumber, onions, and potatoes.

              1. Where do you live? Here in Northern VA, I paid $9 for four crossiants last Saturday, (2 butter, 2 chocolate). I'm staying away from baked goods in the future, as they charge big bucks for bread, etc.

                1. I think there's a price conspiracy going on: at the Cupertino Vallco F's mkt, practically all fruits and tomatoes were $2 - $3/lb. While they were all beautiful and firm, they were not any sweeter than the ones I bought at Imahara for less than half the price (we did a taste test on the tomatoes and nectarines when we got home). The F's mkt squashes and eggplants were cheaper and better, though, and it is the only place where I can find duck and wild boar sausages ($11-$12/pkg). I think one just has to be careful and choosey - not all F's mkt products are worthwhile. Do others have the same experience? TIA.

                  1. I find fruits and veggies at area FMs are priced higher than the local independent produce stands. Our local Avila Valley Barn has good produce they grow themselves as it comes into season.

                    Yesterday, I spent $10 and change on:
                    3 peaches
                    1 bunch asparagus
                    4 summer squash
                    basket strawberries
                    basket blueberries
                    4 ears of corn (best so far--going back today to get more!)
                    1# green beans (.75 #)

                    Because crops can come on all at once (like the green beans) they are often discounted. Picked in the morning and on the table that night. Can't beat it! It has become my spot to shop for produce all season, May-Dec.

                    1. Went to a different Farmer's Market last night and did really well, I'm so happy to find another source other than my Encino market. For $20 this is what I took home:

                      3 Jumbo Haas Avocados
                      2 Heads of huge and gorgeous red leaf lettuce
                      2 Red Onions
                      2 Bunches of Vietnamese Long Beans
                      7 Ears of Sweet White Corn
                      5 Small Cucumbers
                      2 Lbs of Red and Green Seedless Grapes
                      3 Lbs of Tomatoes...mixed varieties