Becoming Jill: Adventures in Adulthood

Chapter 12: In Which I Support the Local Immigrant Community. Massive Amounts of Produce are Procured.
August 3, 2010, 4:00 pm
Filed under: Food, frugality, money | Tags: ,

One of my favorite things about living in a real city is the abundance of food shopping options! Here in the Twin Cities, there are more ways to get food than I can even list. We have super-fancy high-end markets like Byerly’s and Lunds, middle of the road options like Cub, Rainbow, and Super Target, and of course, my new favorite budget-grocer, Aldi’s. However, in the summer, we also have innumerable farmer’s markets, hooray! The big markets in the two downtowns are a really fun shopping experience, but the prices aren’t much (if any) cheaper than you would find at the store.

Since this is a real city, however, I don’t have to settle for the big, overpriced markets! Minnesota is home to a large immigrant community, mostly from Southeast Asia and Africa. The twin cities are dotted with ethnic markets catering to these populations, but nothing stops me from shopping there, too! In the summer, many of the stores also have weekend farmer’s markets, and this is where you can find some of the best (and cheapest!) produce around.

There’s a good-sized Hmong farmer’s market about a half-mile from my apartment every weekend during the summer. I absolutely love going there! I take my own bags in my ongoing efforts to be environmentally friendly, and I come home loaded with more produce than I can easily fit in my little refrigerator. I am usually the only white person there, and most of the vendors don’t speak English. If they have their kids along, they usually speak English, but most of my transactions are accomplished with pointing and smiles. I don’t even recognize a lot of the traditional Asian vegetables, but they also sell all the boring things I want, like lettuce and potatoes and cucumbers.

I usually spend about 10-12 bucks per trip, and I get so much stuff that I couldn’t possibly eat it all in a week! Once tomatoes are in season here, I’ll be going every weekend, though. Mmm, tomatoes! The place is always packed, and negotiating the parking lot can be hazardous! Lots of people bring their whole families, and things can get a little crazy. I just go with the flow, and wander around smiling and pointing when I find 20 cucumbers for a buck. You heard me! One dollar.

Here’s my latest haul: Lettuce, cucumbers, potatoes, carrots, zucchini, yellow onions, red onions, and green peppers.

Price: $12. Not bad, huh? Who wants to come to my house for a giant salad?


2 Comments so far
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You need to learn to can vegetables! You can make pickles with those cucumbers, and they will last years. Or spaghetti sauce. Or salsa. Or if you’re into fruit, you can make jams or jellies. Super easy and super cheap!!

Comment by Angie

I would actually love to learn how to can, but I’m going to have to wait until I live somewhere with a bit more space and storage! But that’s definitely on my list of things I want to do someday! 🙂

Comment by becomingjill

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