Farmers market – a market where local farmer or growers sell their produce directly to the public.
I see a lot of people constantly saying that following a low carb lifestyle is so expensive. When you ask people why, they will always give you the same answers. You have to buy the low carb products (cauli rice, zoodles etc.) and its expensive. I think it is just another excuse they use to give up.
When we started this lifestyle, we didn’t have extra cash to spend on special foods or “banting friendly” products. We kept it simple and only bought the basics – fresh vegetables, meat and eggs. In the beginning we had milk (fresh from the farm – a special work perk) instead of cream, as this was what we could afford. I believe that the “Banting” revolution in South Africa is also driven by money. Suddenly, people are willing to pay 40% extra for a product just because it contains a label that says “Banting approved”. I can never understand why healthy living should cost you more.
This is where a farmers market can be a great bonus. We discovered this really nice “farmers market” when we moved to Gauteng. Its about a 40 min drive from where we stay but so worth it. I am sure there are others, probably closer to us, but we make this not just about stocking up on veggies, but to get out and spend some quality time together as a family. Normally we will take the drive on a Sunday morning after church, about once a month, depending on what we need.
Sunday was our first trip for the new year, and we had a great time. We also reached another high point during this trip. Jasmyn got the most amazing waffle house (normal gluten loaded, sugar loaded, not LCHF), and we use to eat a waffle as part of our outing. We always suffered the consequences, but just couldn’t really say no. On Sunday, I can proudly say – we only had coffee! I must just add how extremely proud I am of hubby, he said no without even thinking about it!
So what did we all buy? We bought the following vegetables and some fruit: Broccoli, cauliflower, green peppers, tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, patty pans, baby marrows, cucumbers, spaghetti squash, gem squash, onions, cabbage, strawberries, blueberries, and dill. All in bulk for a total of R320. This will last us for about 5 weeks, which is truly a huge money saver for us.
Buying from a farmers market also means you will have to do some chopping and packing, but even this was not too bad. Took us about 2 hours to prepare all the veggies and get them into the freezer. I took the time to also prepare all Little M’s meals for the next 6 weeks.
We just did a few quick calculations of how much we actually saved by buying from the farmers market. We bought 2 heads of cabbage (R9.95 each) which we sliced and packed into 5 “meals” (packed enough for 3 people). Fried cabbage is fast becoming one of my favourite go to base for curry, stew or spicy mince. That works out to R3.98 per meal for 3 people!!
Next we stocked up on cauliflower. I bought a total of 12 heads for R65.76, keep in mind in normal retail shops and even our local vegetable retailer you will be lucky to by one head of cauliflower for R20. I shared some with our neighbor, and kept 3 heads whole. In the end I used 6 heads (costing R32.88) to make cauli-rice (another favourite). I made a total of 8 “meals” (for 3 people, about 500g), which works out to R4.11. This is ridiculously cheap as a 500g frozen bag of cauli-rice at retailers cost about R35.
We also made zoodles (zucchini noodles). I bought 4 packs of zucchini for a total of R39.80. I made a total of 6 “meals” (for 3 people), and 2 “meals” with the off cuts which I can use in stews or even fry with garlic and bacon as a side dish. This works out to R4.97 per meal.
The only downfall for a farmers market is that you never know what you will find and at what price. But in the end, I am willing to take the drive out to my preferred market, I am willing to take the time to prepare the veggies for the freezer. I know not everyone is willing to do it, but once you add up the savings, I am sure you will start making an effort.
If that’s not motivation enough, think about how you are supporting your local farmers and local community, rather than the big retailers where farmers only get a small portion of the money you pay.