Thinking global, eating local
Like most students, I usually buy my groceries at the closest big box store despite the fact that buying locally produced food is easier on the environment.
I’ve always known that I should make more of an effort to eat locally, but I always thought it sounded like a hassle.
After visiting “Your Kitchener Market” this weekend, it turns out that it’s totally worth that little bit of extra effort.
Yes, the environment is always important to consider, but even if that factor doesn’t win you over, the next one should: shopping at the local market is dirt-cheap.
I was impressed by how inexpensive veggies, fruits, meats and bread were at the market.
I even made friends with a cheerful local vendor who gave me a large bag full of cucumbers because they were the ones that had gone “curly” and the grocery store didn’t want them.
They tasted just fine.
Not only was I able make an entire four-course meal that fed six people for under $15, approximately 90 per cent of the meal was produced in southwestern Ontario.
I could feel good about what I was eating, as well as about the money saved.
Eating local is yet another step in our efforts to save the planet. The act of eating locally grown food is better for everyone.
By eating local, it’s more likely that migrant workers are not abused, that the animals we eat do not suffer excessively and that the farmers who grow the food earn a decent wage.
Tomatoes are a great example of how food quality varies between local and store-bought.
Imported tomatoes are picked green and then sprayed with petroleum-based gas during transit in order to make them appear red. They are still as hard as a tennis ball when they arrive in stores, appear green or white on the inside and taste like a strangely crispy piece of soggy cardboard.
As fruits and vegetables gain the majority of their nutritional value in the last day or two of ripening naturally, when you pick them early to transport them somewhere, you miss the taste and the nutrition of a ripe tomato.
Local food can be eaten the same day it is picked, which means you are getting all of the goodness it contains.
Whether you care about your carbon footprint, the quality or taste of your food or human or animal rights, eating local is a step towards a more sustainable world.
Our trip bought 9 apples, 8 peppers, 5 carrots, 6 cucumbers, 1 ¼ pound of ground pork, and 2 bunches of spinach.
The grand total for our trip was $14.90.
Include 30 minutes in travel time and you have a pleasant Saturday
The Kitchener farmer’s market is one of Canada’s oldest operating
markets, beginning in the 1830s and moving into a permanent structure
in 1869. It opens its doors every Saturday at 7am and operates all year round.
A tip for an economical shopper; there are deals to be had after 1pm.
The market officially closes at 2pm so vendors are in a rush to sell their remaining goods.
In all, the farmer’s market comprises of delicious vegetables, meats, legumes, and fruit. Expect to pay considerably less for food than at Sobeys or Zehrs. It’s also a much more fun and wholesome experience.
The closer to closing time that you go, the better deals you are likely to get.
-But go early if you need something specific.
– Go with your roommates, its easier to buy a box of eight apples than just one.
-Talk to the vendors and find out where their products are from.
-If you’re buying a large quantity of something, don’t be afraid to bargain, you will probably end up with a better deal.
For the starving student the Farmer’s market at Market Square in Kitchener presents an oasis of healthy, nutritious and affordable eats.