A New Way To Shop

pastured raised eggs
Pasture-raised eggs are one of the best features of the farmers market.

I mentioned earlier that I spoke at a CHADD meeting recently. After the meeting, one of the ladies asked which local store I preferred for my grocery shopping. We actually shop at up to 5 different places for our groceries. She didn’t really like that concept because she hated having to go multiple places.

I can sympathize. I used to not like to do that either. But we’ve been refining our shopping over several years. I suppose we also have it easier because we have no children at home. But I believe you can still find a solution that works for you.

Our shopping has evolved as we have become more aware of what is in our food and how it was grown or raised. So I thought I would describe how we shop and tell you why. We typically do our shopping on Saturday morning. While I’ll list 5 places, we rarely go to more than 2 or 3 on any given Saturday. Here goes:

Zucchini and yellow squash
Coming from the farmers market, the zucchini and yellow squash were still on the vine the day before we bought them. Can’t get fresher than that.
  1. We start at the Pearl Farmers Market. The farmers market has had the biggest impact on our shopping. We are blessed in San Antonio to have a climate that supports a year round farmers market. We used to plan our meals and then go shopping. Now, we start at the Pearl. We buy most of our veggies there and benefit from local, organic, and the freshest veggies you can find. Oftentimes, they were in the ground the day before. We also buy pasture-raised chickens and eggs and many of our grass-fed meats there.
  2. Depending on our needs we may go to one to the following:
    • Whole Foods – I like Whole Foods for all the ingredients they DO NOT allow; so that I don’t have to worry about MSG & migraines.
    • Central Market – Central Market has the second best produce in town – right after the farmers markets.
  3. We shop one of the large warehouse stores for many staples.
  4. Lastly (but don’t tell them) is the local grocery store. The one that seems to want to monopolize shopping in our city. We will buy milk there (until we identify a better source) and a few produce items.

That’s the basics and we round it out with a few items we order online: yogurt culture and cat food among them. I make our yogurt and bake all our bread, too.

It may seem complicated, and writing it out makes it seem that way. But it’s not really that complicated in practice. For example, this past weekend we went to the farmers market on Saturday and then to the warehouse store on Sunday.

A couple of things we’ve done to make it easier:

  1. We bought a cart for the farmers market. It makes it much easier when you buy a lot at the market. We have reusable ice packs that we put in it to keep the food cold.
  2. We will take an ice chest with us as well. That way if we make additional stops, we don’t have to worry about food spoiling. Because we live in South Texas, this is a concern for us most of the time.
Shopping the farmers market, you learn what foods are in season locally. You can’t get arugula or other greens year round, but that makes for seasonal variety.
What drives your grocery shopping experience? One-stop shopping? Cost? Buying organic?
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I'm now an author and publisher. I write a blog over at BarbaraMcNeely.com. And I have a book published - “Lessons of an Opening Heart."
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