Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Greenmarket Challenge

The locavore movement is often dismissed as idealistic philosophy that cannot be practiced by anyone but the very well-heeled. There is a certain degree of truth to this: go to any farmer's market and you will be shocked at what people will pay for local foods. However, one does not need to break the bank in order to eat locally.

This weekend, I set out to the Union Square Greenmarket to conduct that experiment for myself. Rather than supplementing my Greenmarket purchases with purchases from the supermarket as I usually do, I would buy everything from the Greenmarket. I set myself a budget of $110, which is only slightly more than what I normally spend for two weeks of groceries. Keep in mind that this budget will cover my breakfasts, lunches, and dinner for the next 12 days; that's $11 a day, a fair budget considering my average lunch in midtown Manhattan is $8. Some of these items should last me even longer than 10 days, as well. I have allowed myself some leg room to use ingredients such as grains, sauces, and garlic that I already had on hand, but other than that necessary allowance, my entire diet for the week will consist of local foods.

Shopping for this week's meals was certainly challenging. Due to my price constraint, I will have to decrease my meat consumption during the week and may have to eat more vegetables (gasp!) in order to fill myself up. Also, as few recipes include only ingredients that can be sourced from New York in early June, this week will challenge my culinary creativity in order to use only the ingredients I purchased at the Greenmarket. These challenges will help me to eat more healthily and force me to be think outside the box when I cook.

I did have a weekly menu in mind while shopping as doing without it would be nearly impossible to stay within budget, but I won't be posting it (what would be the fun in that?). Instead, stay tuned throughout the week to see what I cook for my Greenmarket Challenge.

Here's what I bought (prices are from my recollection). Note that the pictures contain a few items that my significant eater bought, and are not included in the below list:

- Milk Thistle Farm Milk ($4)
- Cherry Lane strawberries ($8/qt)
- Cherry Lane asparagus ($8 for a large bunch)
- Cherry Lane spinach ($3)
- Knoll Crest eggs ($4)
- Grazin' Angus Acres ground beef ($8)
- Grazin' Angus Acres chicken ($21, by far my biggest splurge)
- Paffenroth yellow onions ($1.50)
- Paffenroth thyme ($1)
- Paffenroth potatoes ($4)
- Eckerton Farm sugar snap peas ($2.50)
- Eckerton Farm kale ($4)
- Eckerton Farm scallions ($2.50)
- Mountain Sweet Berry spring garlic ($2.50)
- Tonjes Farm Dairy ricotta ($2.50)
- Flying Pigs Farm pork spare ribs ($10)
- Flying Pigs Farm chorizo ($10)
- Rick's Picks Slices of Life ($6)
- P.E. & D.D. Fish monkfish ($10)

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