• Personally speaking….

    Just the thoughts and cookings of a software engineer that likes to make foodstuffs from time to time in the bay area of California.
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Local grocery sales with a little web help

Organic Produce Since I now have this goal of cooking at least one recipe from one of the cookbooks in my stash, I’m going to need to plan. This semester is going to kick my rear both in body and pocket. One of the wonderful things about keeping an eye on what’s in season is usually that’s what is on sale.

I usually look through the local sale circulars online but recently ran across mygrocerydeals.com which pulls circulars together for me — for free. I’ve tried some other sites that do this but they charge. When I first checked the site out, it only pulled the circular from one of my neighborhood stores. Now, it has a pretty good selection, including some circulars I can’t find online. Not sure how they do that!

According to their site, these seem to be the best buys, produce-wise:

  • Apple, Red or Golden Delicious, Virginia Grown or Organic, Kroger. $1.00/pound (Normally $[censored]/pound)
  • Asparagus, Farm Fresh. $1.99/pound (Normally $3.99/pound)
  • Green Beans, Farm Fresh. $1.99/pound
  • Cabbage, Kroger. $.39/pound
  • Greens (Kale, Collards, Mustard), Farm Fresh. $.88/pound (Normally $1.99/pound)

I wonder if I should hit Trader Joe’s then swing by Kroger and Farm Fresh on the way home. Trader Joe’s is about 10 minutes away. Kroger and Farm Fresh are in the same shopping center.

Now that I know where the cheap is, it’s time to pick the dishes!

Yorktown’s “Market Days at the River”

Yorktown Market

Checked out Yorktown’s “Farmers'” Market today. The quotes are because most of the vendors I saw were baked goods or other such things. There were a few meat vendors including the above seafood vendor with live softshell crabs. I saw at least one flower vendor. There was a big flat cart of produce crates but by the time I got there most were empty. Note to self: Don’t go after 10:00 a.m. It was also very bright and it made photographing stuff difficult since I couldn’t see.

As with Williamsburg’s Farmers’ Market, there were lots of dogs. Since this market was on the river, there were also oodles of families with small children. I enjoyed the art and the rest of what the area had to offer. I hope that the next time I visit that there’ll be more produce vendors.

Currently cheap eats at the local supermarkets

I started a price sheet a few weeks ago and have been taking note of sales at the local markets. On the way home from work, I can hit many supermarkets: Food Lion, Farm Fresh, Kroger, Games Market, Walmart, Super Kmart. I don’t usually shop at Walmart or SuperKmart but am rethinking the Walmart thing. Price matching for the win.

The cheap eats that I noticed this week* according to my handy dandy price sheet:

  • Avocado at Food Lion for $.99 each. (Average: $1.99)
  • Cantaloupe at Farm Fresh for $.88 each. (Average: $1.99)
  • Chicken Breast, split, at Food Lion for $.88/pound. (Average: $2/pound)**

Footnote: Average is of the various local stores I check.
* Ends April 22, 2008 probably.
** Food Lion brand chicken is advertised as hormone and antibiotic free.

To market we go!

Checked out Williamsburg Farmers Market Dogs aplenty at market this weekend. It’s only open about one Saturday a month still and had quite a few vendors that sold flowers. There were also sellers of fish, goat cheese, bison meat, and honey. I went there to buy some local honey. I enjoyed the multitude of dogs that were out and about with their owners. I think I saw every breed except Great Dane!

I picked up a magazine called Edible Chesapeake that had some great information about what one can buy from local markets and a good list of what’s in season. I can usually tell what’s in season by the sales at the local grocery stores though. Asparagus for $1.99 a pound, anyone?

I am looking forward to checking out the Yorktown Market. A lot of the same vendors that are at the Williamsburg market look like they are going to be at Yorktown so I’ll save in gas!

Flowers for sale at the market If you’re thinking about going to a local farmer’s market, I recommend a few things.

  • Bring a camera. It’s fun to take photos of the displays, especially if you buy something and can’t remember the name of it. 😉
  • Bring cash. That way you don’t have to worry about local check and ID, or whether or not plastic is taken.
  • Bring your own bags. And make sure it will hold what you’re buying.
  • Bring a cooler. If you’re going to buy anything that needs refrigeration like cheese, bring a cooler or cooler bags to help keep things from spoiling.
  • Bring your sense of adventure. One of the great things about buying from the person that grew/raised what you’re buying is that she or he is a wealth of information. Try something new! That ugly vegetable might be your new BFF. Also ask about recipe ideas.