food / stream

Market Shopping

Market shopping is the best. Normally I would be at a market this morning, but the weather is really wet and I still have enough for today and tomorrow so there is really no need… thank god. So instead I get to sit inside and tell you guys about how great they are.

I am lucky enough to be living in a city where where I can go to a market almost every day of the week: Zurich. With fresh produce from Switzerland, France and Italy there is always something good there, with the taste unrivalled by supermarket food. Yes, sometimes you get wet while shopping and all of the carrots don’t always look like clones, but as with the taste, the human factor is also incomparable to a supermarket. Have you ever tried asking someone working in a supermarket what the best way is to cook a certain vegetable, I have and drew pretty blank stares – sometimes they don’t even know where everything is in the supermarket.

Now I don’t want to hate on supermarket employees because I have friends who worked there for many years and I know there are people who do a really good job, unfortunately this has not been the case with the majority I have encountered while shopping there. Naturally the same applies for fresh produce markets, there will always be some people who know less. Altogether though, I have found that not only will the people working at a market take their time , but I have had some really inspiring and fun conversations with them about everything food related and beyond. I guess they are expected to know more and they wouldn’t be working there if they didn’t know anything about veg.

To add to the taste and human factors there is another massively important one: environmental. I won’t go into massive details about this because I am sure I will do a seperate blog post at some point in the future, but here are the key points:

  • no packaging; no plastic bags; less waste and when they do have to put something in a bag for you like loose leaves or potatoes, it can usually be put in paper bags. In addition to this I, like most people at the market, bring my own shopping bag which means even less waste.
  • carbon footprint often discussed, too often ignored. To put it simply, I feel better about eating food that has come from just down the road rather than flown/ been shipped half way around the world. An added bonus is that you get higher quality for a lower price because the travel doesn’t have to be included. If you’re shopping in a supermarket your yearly food probably does more travelling and sees more exotic locations than you will in a lifetime.
  • artificial to build on the previous point, it is also very questionable why items that come from so far away are still fresh: #artificial #pumpedfullofstuff . All of this artificial stuff is not only bad for the environment where it is grown and where the chemicals seep into the local land and water, but all of that is also going to be in the food and settle in your body when you eat it.

So I already mentioned that I take my own bag when I go shopping. Besides the environmental factors it has simply become habit for me because that is the way it has always been done in my family. Looking back though it brings to mind a sad and frustrating truth. Since I was born in Germany (and most probably before) my mum would use fabric bags to go shopping with. In 1998 when we moved to the UK everyone would look at her funny for not using the plastic bags. Nowadays the tables are starting to turn (even if not far enough) and people are slowly moving in the direction of using less plastic bags and more reusable. So here is the sad and frustrating part: imagine if there had been no plastic bags used for the last 20 years, what a difference that would have made! 20 years worth of plastic that is now sitting on this planet and can’t biodegrade. The only thing that is done is to have it burnt (releasing poisonous toxins into our atmosphere) or dumped in the sea (where it is causing SO much trouble).

But I digress. Plastic is a big issue, but we are talking about the positive parts of local produce at a market. Nowadays you see a much bigger drive towards local produce and becoming greener and that simply is because people are realising that having everything available all the time is not natural and comes at a price. Popping down to your local farmers market however comes with a whole lot of positives.

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