Farmers’ market and supermarket update

Farmers’ market season is here! I’m even more excited about it than usual because A) They moved it to Saturdays, and that just so happens to be my shopping day, and 2) zero waste success goes up considerably when you can get produce that is unpackaged and un-stickered.

Although I did see individually wrapped cucumbers on Saturday. There were two on top of the pile that were “plain.” I took one of those.

I don't really have art for this post so here's a picture of cherry blossoms I took for the paper.

I don’t really have art for this post so here’s a picture of cherry blossoms I took for the paper last month.

It’s early in the season, so what’s available right now is fairly limited to salad greens, spring garlic, leeks, asparagus (gross), salad turnips, radishes (we want to like them, but we don’t) and chard. As we get into the growing season, this will only get better.

I can’t wait.

I shop the market like I would the grocery store – I bring my produce bags and grocery bags and a jar just in case, and go for, say, the loose salad mix instead of the bagged sort. Almost everything else comes in bunches that are bound by rubber bands or twist ties, but I just take those off at the stall and hand them back right there. The vendors have assured me they can reuse them.

So the market aspect is going swimmingly.

The grocery store … well, we took a couple steps back this week.

So here in the Pacific Northwest, all we hear about is the Cascadia subduction zone earthquake and how we need emergency kits. I don’t have a huge stockpile of canned and packaged goods, but I do have some because, well, it seems stupid NOT to … and as we have to rotate those out on a regular basis, this means restocking. So four packaged items went to that. That I can justify.

Ahem. But.

I let Johanna get two packages of organic mac and cheese and a couple of cans of soup. I got myself some oatmeal (in place of my usual carton of yogurt, but still packaged). We got a box of cereal and a package of bread – those are on Abby’s and Eric’s “bye” lists, at least – and our usual gallon of milk. And then – and this is really bad, you guys – I had gotten fresh cilantro at the market and wanted to make salsa, so I got a package of tortilla chips because Chips and Salsa.

And then forgot to get extra tomatoes so I’m an idiot. But the girls are jacked. Chips are scarce on the ground these days.

I feel sheepish having to admit that I did this. I mean, sure, I can recycle most of it … but that’s not the point. This is a zero waste year. So the goal is zero. And yeah, that’s intimidating and depressing and scary, but I signed up for it. I’d beg for points accumulated, but I’m not sure it works that way. If I allow myself to slip, how will I ever get to (near) zero?

Constant vigilance! That’s the key.

(Sorry. I will do better next week.)

Next up: I have a couple of Walker kitchen staples to share.

7 Responses to Farmers’ market and supermarket update

  1. Hang in there. Early days. You’ve made a dramatic change, and a big improvement over your previous trash bins, so don’t beat yourself up over a bag of chips! (On another note, did they have garlic scapes at the market? I can’t get them down here, but they’re long green veg, look like long green beans a little, and grow on garlic plants. I like to roast them with olive oil and salt. I love them, and am living vicariously through other’s in the Pacific northwest.)

  2. We are camping this week so we are using more packaged items than usual. I did not bring any paper plates or utensils though.

    I live in Texas so Mexican restaurants abound but maybe next time you can bring your own container and pick the tortilla chips up from a restaurant.

    • We have a ton of Mexican restaurants here too, as well as an actual tortilla chip factory. I think I need to make some phone calls and see if it’s an option…

  3. This is the killer, when there’s backslide and you beat yourself up. I have been and done it too. The aim is zero waste, but I think the aim and the striving in and of itself is a huge % of the overall goal.

    It’s like someone who trains for the olympics only to be out after the heats – we always say ‘at least you got to the olympics’ but that same logic is applied no matter the highest level they’d have reached.

    I’m not zero waste for countless little conveniences or preferences. I used to take my own meat container, but now I don’t. I used to buy oats in bulk at a different store, now I buy them in a grocery store and usually pay more for the brand that is all cardboard, but sometimes I go ‘cheap’ and the plastic bagged ones are bought (and the bag recycled in the grocery store’s special bin). Life gets in the way. We should aim for the moon, and if we land amongst the stars…

    • Thank you. It’s an interesting process, that’s for sure. And last week’s fail is a huge motivator for this week. Like that quote at the end by the way. Will to keep that in mind!

  4. Making your own tortilla chips might be the answer to this dilemma. A small package of corn tortilla chips could make about 3-4 batches of chips. You’d still have the plastic bag to recycle but it would go further than the bag of pre-made chips. Or you could make your own corn tortillas and then bake them into chips? Just a thought!

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