Remember when my child was given the budget a few weeks ago, and remember how he had absolutely no interest in purchasing mustard greens? None. Well folks, last week I was prepared for payback.
Yes, I am that parent 😉
I saw Zaklan Heritage Farm had a full supply of mustard greens, as well as several other greens. Ossome Acres, Ripple Creek, and Nature Village Farms also had a wide variety of salad greens to choose from. Hmmm, I thought. Why not fill the bag full of greens. Not just mustards, but purple and green and spiky lettuces and kales. That’ll show the boy. We’ll have greens every day, and not just in salads, I thought. We’ll cook them, have them as side dishes, combine them into the main courses.
It will be a greens-o-ganza.
That was the plan.
I loaded up on greens. Nearly half the budget went to greens.
But the thing is, this past week, we had several social engagements; we barely ate at home. As such, those greens sat and sat and sat. Some of them fared quite well (the spiky purple lettuce is a champ for durability) but others like the arugula and kale wilted and became limp by Monday.
What to do? What to do?
Heyyyy, wait a second.
About a month ago, the market featured Love Food Hate Waste, an organization with the sole purpose of reducing food waste in Metro Vancouver. I remember grabbing a few recipe cards, and after rifling through a stack of papers, I found the one I wanted:
Fridge Harvest Stew.
Although I didn’t follow this recipe to a tee, I did use up all the wilted greens, as well as leftover chicken that had been in the fridge for several days, shrivelling tomatoes, a wrinkling zucchini, an onion that I purchased two weeks ago, and aged sweet peppers. I didn’t have cannelloni beans, but did have chickpeas and black beans.
Based on the size of the pot, I figure I’ve got at least five freezable lunches in there.
I loved the concept of this meal. It helped clean out my fridge of foods that likely would have been composted otherwise. I do not eat raw tomatoes or peppers once they start wrinkling, nor wilted greens. But when cooked, none of that matters. It’s no longer a texture issue, it’s just pure taste.
According to Love Food Hate Waste, a 2014 study showed that in Metro Vancouver we are wasting over 100,000 tonnes of avoidable food a year – things that could still be eaten with a little creativity. Broken down further, that’s the equivalent of 16,000 heads of lettuce, 40,000 tomatoes, 80,000 potatoes, 32,000 loaves of bread, 55,000 apples, 70,000 cups of milk, and 30,000 eggs – In. A. Day.
And it’s costing households approximately $700 a year.
I don’t have that kind of money to spare.
It annoys me to no end when I have to toss aged foods from my crisper and fridge shelves.
This recipe, and hopefully others on lovefoodhatewaste.ca, has helped breathed new creativity in using up those so-called wasted foods.
Zaklan Heritage Farms
- mini head of lettuce $1
- 1 head spiky purple salanova $2.50
- 1 bunch mizuna mustard greens $3
- 1 bunch radishes $2.50
Ripple Creek Farms
- 1 bag arugula $4
- 2 pounds German butter potatoes $4.50
- 2 tri-coloured peppers $1.75
- 1 bunch ursula kale $3
- 1 garlic $1.20
- 1 bunch fall-coloured dahlias $5
Harvest Direct Farms
- 1 basket plums $5
- 1 basket sunrise apples $5
Fresh Quality Produce
- 1 large bag English snap peas $1.55
Total spent: $40
There are a couple things to note here.
The English snap peas were my son’s choice. After giving him full reign a few weeks ago, he’s taken a keen interest in the shopping side of things at the market. It’s no longer just about running the bridges and getting his face painted, he wants to be able to choose at least one item of the shop. This week it was the snap peas – he LOVES snap peas!
Also noteworthy, the apples.
For one of our dinner excursions, I was charged with making dessert. With a basket of in-season apples, there was only one thing to make: Apfelkuchen!
Originally published on local blog Tenth to the Fraser, The Farmers Market Challenge, written by Katie Bartel (and the odd guest star) seeks to challenge the notice that you can’t get hardly anything for $40 at the farmers market. Each market, Katie explores what’s the best deal, and discovers food she’s never heard of.