We walked to the farmers' market this morning.
We walk past this building on our route, and it always makes me smile. I love the color in the otherwise gray block. I wonder if the super of the building found some extra paint in the basement one day and said to himself, "What the the heck, I'll paint the first story bright yellow with orange stripes."
I heard that 80% of the small farmers who sell at the markets have crops damaged or ruined by Hurricane Irene. Buying produce at the markets is a way to help local farmers, and I especially wanted to do this since Manhattan was spared from the storm. I've noticed the amount of produce dropped over the past few weeks, when you'd expect overflowing tables this time of year.
I did find apples, grapes, peppers, onions, garlic (really great garlic!), watermelon, and donuts. We were glad the donuts were spared from the floods.
But the best part was when, at the end of the line of stalls, we saw a new vendor with a table full of beautiful loaves of bread. I sent my daughter ahead to see what was for sale, with instructions to buy whatever looked best to her. She ran back, insisting I look for myself.
We couldn't decide what to get and finally selected two loaves. There was a variety of delicious-looking focaccia, and we each picked out one.
I've been working on meal planning for the past few weeks, and when I saw the focaccia, my mind erased the lunches I had planned for Tuesdays and replaced them with items from the new vendor. Next week I want the bread stuffed with mozzerella and spinach.
I said to the man behind the tables, "See you next week!" and he said, "Here, take a free shopping bag!" I put in the bread items and handed the bag to my son, and he swung it all the way home while reminding me he had money to spend.
We stopped here for my son to buy a comic book (a.k.a. twaddle) because if you're going to eat a donut from the market for breakfast, you might as well read the comics while you're at it.
For lunch, we ate the focaccia along with a fruit salad and a bit of leftovers from yesterday. For dinner I made potato and kale soup and served it with the pumpernickel bread we bought today.
I've dropped and picked up the meal planning habit several times over the years. I used to think that meal planning meant I had to make every single thing from scratch. But meal planning doesn't mean churning my own butter or grinding my own wheat, but simply that I know what I'm going to serve and do the prep work to make it happen.
On Tuesdays, my prep work is walking in the morning to the market. I think it's a habit I'll be able to keep, at least until the outdoor markets close for the winter.
By then, it will be time for a change anyway.