Spring has sprung here in the QC!  With the warmer days upon us, farmer’s markets are starting to open, which in turn means local grown fresh fruits and veggies!

Every Saturday, I jump up around 8:30am and head out to the Charlotte Farmers Market off Yorkmont Road, near the old Charlotte Coliseum.  It is best to go early because it can become quite crowded, busy and vendors begin to get picked over.  “Early bird gets the worm” right?  I also advise that before you purchase anything, be sure to do a quick walk through to see what and how much vendors are selling their product for to get the best possible price.  I usually limit myself to spending $20 per Saturday.  This usually gets all the main ingredients I need for my lunch salads and usually a special treat (example: flowers, plants, baked good, fruits, etc.).

Here is this weekend’s haul:

farmers_market_042713

  • 1 bag of spinach
  • 1 bag of mushrooms
  • 1 bag of mung sprouts
  • 1 bag of grape tomatoes
  • 1 container of strawberries
  • 1 bag of arugula
  • 2 cucumbers
  • dill
  • thyme

Total spent: $20

You probably notice that many of these items are not locally grown.  In my defense, in a perfect world, I would be able to get all locally grown fruits and veggies.  But back to reality, availability of different fruits and veggies vary with the seasons.  (Yes, we actually have season down here in Charlotte, NC!)

Majority of these items were purchased from a farm/vendor named “Veggies on the Run,” who do not sell NC/SC locally grown produce.  But they do sell fresh veggies that have not been treated with pesticides, cheaper than what can be purchased in the grocery store.  (Yes, I am cheap, don’t judge me.  I am saving my pennies, dimes and nickles for a much needed vacation.)

The thyme, dill, arugula and strawberries were purchased from local farmers.  I am SUPER anxious for strawberry season!  Unfortunately, it is still early for strawberries and this first batch was not as flavorful as I had hoped.  But I washed, cut them up, added a tablespoon of sugar and popped them in fridge overnight.  The next day they were sweeter and more flavorful.  Within the upcoming weeks, strawberries should be in season! Strawberries are my all time favorite fruit.  If you feel the same, definitely be sure to swing by your local farmer’s market or strawberry patch and get some!

The arugula is fresh and pesticide free! I’m not sure the name of the farm, but the farmer which I purchase it from is very nice and is there every weekend with his family.  They also have a spot in the garden shed as well.  The big bag of arugula was $3, which is a total steal compared to his next door competitor that sells baby arugula for $5 per bag.

I purchased thyme and dill to plant in my herb/tomato planter. (See image below)  I had two open spots to fill in.  I added dill to use to make pickles.  I found an interesting dill pickle recipe from The Official Hungry Channel on YouTube.  Stay tuned for recipe trial!  And thyme is a good herb to have around for cooking.

tomato_herb_planter_summer_2013I love this planter system.  I found it at Kmart for $23.  It has been the best purchase I made this summer.  I used 1 large bag of Miracle Moisture Control Potting Soil, which filled all 3 containers of the planter.

Plants:

Top: 2 Container Tomato Plants (Purchased at Lowes Home Improvement), Rosemary (Rooted from an old Rosemary bush I purchased in the fall)

Middle: Basil, Dill, Parsley (Purchased from the Charlotte Farmers Market)

Bottom: Mojito Mint, Cilantro, Thyme (Purchased from the Charlotte Farmers Market)

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