Anyone else notice droopy celery and greens in their supermarket lately?
It’s not something we necessarily would have noticed except that we have recently been trying to reduce our family’s waste by paying more attention to the way we shop for groceries. We’re looking for fresh not frozen, for recyclable packaging over plastic, and bringing our own shopping bags as usual. Maybe this is an ambitious goal for northerners to embark upon in January, but apparently the devaluing loonie is making things worse.
There are a few products that are impossible to buy from our local store without some non-recyclable waste – bread, cheese and Baba Ghanoush, to name a few. We’ve also noticed our grocery bill creep ever-so-slightly higher, and we aren’t sure if the vegetables are to blame or if the products with more conscientious packaging are simply higher-priced. In any case, as happy as we are with quality products that take responsibility for their impact on the environment, it’s not exactly sustainable for us, so we’ll need to become savvier shoppers.
Last summer we enjoyed the luxury of a local, organic CSA and had bountiful vegetables delivered to our doorstep weekly throughout the entire season. These vegetables were not only tasty, beautiful and nutritious, they were grown by friends, and we look forward to doing this again next year.
In the meantime, we’re exploring how other local markets and small stores can fill the void. In Toronto we lived next door to a bakery and frequently bought the day-old loaves. The convenience of those bakeries, stalls and greengrocers on Roncesvalles is perhaps what we talk about missing most in the city – besides our friends of course!
We’d delight in finding that convenience and quality again, and so we ventured out last week to the Brantford Farmers’ Market, open Fridays and Saturdays. We’d been a few times before but not yet this winter. The offerings were abundant, prices comparable to the big chains, and although the drive there was longer, the relationship between people, land and food was more intimate and apparent.
A talented busker played banjo at the entrance (and we kicked ourselves for one of those missed street photography stories, regretting that we neglected to ask him anything about himself). There were also red velvet cookies and apple dumplings aplenty, which received Moo’s wholehearted approval.
We’ll be back for sure, not necessarily to save a penny but for the local connection to food. The ability to reduce our waste further also feels like an opportunity, and a healthy one that we should aim to afford.
Do you have any favorite local food markets or sellers in the Paris / Brant area to help get you through the winter? We’d love to hear about it!