Na Na pinches her pennies (aka frugal living)

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

Farmer’s market

The downed tree finally got cleaned up.

I went to the new neighborhood farmer’s market yesterday.  I bought two cucumbers, 50 cents each; two tomatoes 1.50 each; two peppers 50 cents each; and eight peaches 25 cents each.  Half of these are for my SIL who asked me to get them for her. So, total spent for me is $3.50.

I was disappointed when I got home and realized these were not home grown as we had been led to believe.  Yeah, I did think they looked too perfect.  These are the same produce found at a grocery store but higher priced.  This is the same produce found at the pop up road side stands found everywhere.  I’m not sure I want to pay extra for the convenience of buying closer to home.  Sure, if these had been home grown I’d be glad to pay a little more to support a local farmer.  I’d even go so far as to buy extra for canning.  But; I’m totally against paying more for store produce just because I live in a food desert.

Now I’m feeling like an idiot.  Apparently its a farmer’s market without the farmer and I should have realized it right away but I didn’t.  I decided to weigh the produce to see what the real cost was for what I bought.  I paid $3 for two tomatoes which together weigh one pound.  So three dollars a pound for tomatoes at the farmer’s market who has no farmer.  Tomatoes are on sale for .99 a pound this week at all the grocery stores.  So for the close to home convenience I paid three times the price.  In the store ad Kroger has local farm grown tomatoes for only 1.99 a pound this week.  Even at that price its less than what I paid at the farmer”s market without a farmer.

Now lets see about the cost of the peaches.  Hmm… not as bad but also over priced.  Two and a half pounds for two dollars.  That comes to 80 cents a pound.  Peaches are on sale for 59 cents a pound this week.  So for the convenience I paid an extra 21 cents a pound.

Cucumbers and peppers were on sale at stores cheaper too.  You see why I feel like such an idiot?  Paying extra for food just for the convenience of having it close to home is typical of a food desert.   It makes life very hard when basic needs are way over priced.  Eating healthy is also much more difficult.  I won’t be going back again.  My budget is much too limited to be paying three times the cost for food just because its close to home.

 

26 comments on “Farmer’s market

  1. Tamara
    June 19, 2018

    I am fortunate that we have a farmer a few blocks from the house…. in a major city. He has corn, broccoli, squash, and pumpkins. We have been lucky enough to get something straight off the plant a few times. Not a lot of selection but I know exactly where it came from.
    One year my sister and I took our kids to a farm that was having an end of season cleanup. They posted an ad on Craigslist inviting people to come and pick what was left in the fields. The staff ran the tractor over a potato field and loosened them up so we picked as much as we wanted of red potatoes… enough to share with our neighbors. We also got carrots but had to dig them up… we didn’t think to bring a shovel so my jack handle served the purpose.
    The food was good and was a great memory for our kids.

    • Anita
      June 20, 2018

      I’ve heard about “glean the fields” invitations but so far I’ve not found one close enough for me to get there by public transportation. You are fortunate. I sure wish I could find a back yard farmer near me. I won’t give up though.

  2. KAYTHEGARDENER
    June 16, 2018

    Our farmers markets in the Portland OR metro area are strictly locally grown by regulations.
    A few blocks away are parked the large trucks that brought the items to market.
    Easy enough to ask the person guarding it how far they’ve come from…

    • Anita
      June 16, 2018

      I wish that were true here but it isn’t.

  3. Cath young
    June 14, 2018

    Yup. The ones near me the same. I suspect some of them just buy the produce from Walmart. Then there are the organic, home grown things that are way over my price range

    I have 15 tomato plants, peppers, cucumbers, squash growing. Hopefully I net some nice produce this year

    Thankfully, you found out for $3.50.

    • Anita
      June 15, 2018

      Yes, lucky it was only a $3.50 loss and that I hadn’t bought enough for canning.

  4. T
    June 11, 2018

    This is my first ‘library’ post! Wonder how I’ll get on without home internet? Probably get a lot more writing done : )

    Glad you pointed this out, I am planning to check out a local farmers’ market near my new place ( the supermarket is way closer to me )

    Peaches are horrible here right now, hard and tasteless.

    Take care.

    • Anita
      June 12, 2018

      I’ve thought about giving up home internet because of the cost and using the library but can’t see it working for me. I hope you have better luck with your farmer market than I did. Let me know how it goes.

      • T
        June 13, 2018

        Yes it’s $82/month cheapest here and every few months goes up a little more…needs me to be organized so we’ll see how it works : ) Will report back…

  5. craftytadpole
    June 11, 2018

    I’ve seen this here too. Grr. I try to buy from farmers I know. Easy in a small community. Not so easy in larger centers.

  6. lilli
    June 11, 2018

    We’re you able to plant anything at your house ? I think my only solution is to go outside and start a trench. Fill it with scraps of food and cover it up as I add stuff. One row at a time maybe next year we will get something going.

    • Anita
      June 11, 2018

      I do have one cherry tomato, three leaf lettuce, and one chocolate basil plant in a pot but they aren’t growing. The plants are just barely larger than what they were when planted almost a month ago. I did get three tomatoes from the blossoms on it when bought but there haven’t been any blossoms after that. I have no idea why the plants won’t grow.

  7. Linda S
    June 10, 2018

    I have a booth at the local farmer’s market; small town, 14,000 people , half on a military base. Number one rule is products have to be grown or created in Idaho.
    they are pretty strict & if I have a question about where their farm is, I ask. We all kind of know each other or know someone who knows them. Sorry about your bad experience.

    • Anita
      June 11, 2018

      That’s the type honest market I was hoping for here. About ten years ago there used to be an actual U-pick-it farm not far away right in the heart of the suburbs. I could get there by bus and see for myself what produce was ready for picking. They had great stuff and well worth any extra cost. The owner passed away and none of the kids wanted to continue the farming. That was sad for a lot of people.

  8. Jackie
    June 10, 2018

    I have done the same thing. Ugh!

  9. Leslie Saunders
    June 10, 2018

    We just came back from Mexico where we get our teeth cleaned and checked yearly…noticed a whole bunch of stands that magically sprang up in Yuma. My neighbor told me to ask pointed questions,because this goes on more now. Here in Yuma, it’s because of the all the lettuce that went unsold because of the e-coli outbreak. Guess we all have a lot to learn!

    • Anita
      June 10, 2018

      Even asking pointed questions doesn’t always get truthful answers. I feel sorry for farmers who suffer from e-coli outbreaks through no fault of their own. It must be devastating to loose a whole year’s crop all at once. The same as if the whole lot gets lost to flood or fire or hail.

  10. rburgessfl
    June 10, 2018

    This happened to me recently. I stopped at a roadside stand, and realized when I got home the peaches I bought had stickers on them – the same brand as the grocery store. I paid too much but I’ve learned my lesson!

    I love your blog; thank you for sharing with us.

    • Anita
      June 10, 2018

      Yup, my hope bubble burst. I learned my lesson. Glad to have you join us here.

  11. Sandy
    June 10, 2018

    I have found this to be true, too. That’s why I stick to grocery store sales although I would love to support local farmers.

    • Anita
      June 10, 2018

      I guess I just got my hopes up too much. I really wanted to believe we would have a real farm market close enough to walk. My bubble burst. Sigh.

  12. Donna
    June 10, 2018

    Wow, what a rip off. They are trying to fool people by saying it is a farmers market. You need to write a letter to the paper. Not everyone is as sharp as you are about getting ripped off.

    • Anita
      June 10, 2018

      I’m not that smart. I remembered watching a BBC documentary last year, courtesy of a link sent to me by Margie in Toronto. It explained how these markets are a big rip off. I had forgotten about that movie until I saw a store type sticker on the peaches. I know some early peaches are ready to pick in June here in KY so that’s how I got tricked. I did write a complaint to the city council where the vendor permit is issued and sent an email to one of the local tv stations. It may not do any good but I did it anyway.

      • Donna
        June 11, 2018

        Good for you for writing the complaint. They might not realize what is going on.

  13. Margie in Toronto
    June 10, 2018

    One of our Investigative TV shows did an episode on this issue last year – people going to farmers’ markets and being completely mislead or downright lied to about where the produce had been grown. I’ve always been a bit suspicious of this – especially given our climate – other than those items grown in a greenhouse – none of our produce is ready right now (people have barely started planting) so where is this stuff coming from. Turns out most of it was coming from the Ontario Food Terminal which supplies all the grocery stores in the city! And yes – they were charging extra!
    It’s even a worse rip off in your case because you don’t have many other options so they are really taking advantage. Disgraceful! I am so appreciative of the fact that I have access to great public transit so I can go all over the city to take advantage of prices at different stores, markets and outlets.

    • Anita
      June 10, 2018

      Margie it was your suggestion that I watch that documentary last year that alerted my suspicions. I remembered watching it and then seeing the stickers on the peaches told me I was right. Some early peaches are ready to pick in parts of Kentucky in June which is what threw me off. Some early tomatoes show up in June in KY too. I do have access to public buses and I chauffeur my SIL for her shopping so I’m not totally isolated to a food desert. I was just hopeful I could fresh produce more than once a month. BTW if anyone would like to watch the documentary here is the link. Farm market truth

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