Farmer’s Markets – The Way to Go!

One of the most common things I hear from people hesitant to “reform” their eating habits is that it’s “too expensive” to eat more fresh fruits and veggies. A few years ago, I likely would have believed that. Anyone who goes into their local Publix to stock up on fresh staples knows that you can easily drop $50 on a week’s worth of fresh fruits and veggies – and that’s if you go for what’s on sale and/or in season.

Fortunately, most cities – big or small – feature a weekend Farmer’s Market which is the BEST place to go if you’re focus is to get healthy on a budget.

My grandmother stayed the weekend with me (she just turned 71 on 8/30 – wish that lady a Happy Birthday, would ya?!) and we made it a point to hit TWO Farmer’s Markets this morning.

The first market, featured at Lake Eola in Downtown Orlando, I picked up the following:

  • One GIANT eggplant: $2
  • Yellow squash (5): $2.50
  • Carton of fresh cut, organic watermelon: $4
  • Fresh mango, skinned and sliced: $4
  • GIANT sweet onion: $1 (see picture below)
  • Poblano peppers (2): $1
  • Organic apples (4): $3
  • Organic pears (2): $1.50
That is one of the biggest onions I've ever seen. It must weigh two pounds.

That is one of the biggest onions I’ve ever seen. It must weigh two pounds.

At the second market, at the beautiful Lake Lily in Maitland, I was thrilled to discover the prices were EVEN LOWER:

  • Sweet potatoes (2): $1.25
  • Bunches of green onion (4): $2
  • Mixed peppers (4): $1 (what a steal!)
  • Fresh, chopped broccoli: $1.25
  • Limes (4): $1
  • Kale: $1.50
  • Bunch of Chives: $1

Seriously, look at this haul:

I forgot to take a picture BEFORE I started prepping the veggies, so don't judge the plastic baggies in the back corner.

I forgot to take a picture BEFORE I started prepping the veggies, so don’t judge the plastic baggies in the back corner.

This is EASILY enough fruit and veggies to last me a week (minimum) and I spent less than $30 in total for everything. To be honest, the pre-cut watermelon and mango were splurge items, as the Lake Lily market had whole mangoes for just $0.75 each. The same goes for watermelon: I could have purchased a WHOLE watermelon for just $3, but I know how lazy I am when it comes to preparation, so the $8 I spent on those two items was more out of expected apathy than thrift.

For less than it costs for a meal out for two (no cocktails, no appetizer), I literally have enough fresh fruits and veggies to eat for two weeks on my own. As a reformed vegetarian, I could happily live on veggies myself for weeks, but my husband, a die-hard carnivore, begs for steak, chicken, or fish as an accompaniment. Still, factoring in a package of organic chicken at Publix (currently on sale), a bag of wild Alaskan salmon, and the BOGO on baby back ribs at Fresh Market, I will literally feed my husband and I for less than $60 this week and it’ll all be fresh, mostly organic, and HEALTHY.

So… what’s your excuse for NOT eating well again?

I’m pretty sure this is significantly cheaper than dining out 3x per week and picking up fast food the other days.

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

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