Monday, November 16, 2009

Trading Post Basics

Remember the Oregon trail?

Ahh, they days were you were supposed to be learning to type, word process or research, you were on the Oregon Trail, finding fruit with Indians (there were no Native Americans in 2-bit land) or caulking your wagon across the river and watching all your friends die of cholera and dysentery? Fun times!

Remember the very start of the game? Where you had to ration out supplies and goods? Basically, let's go back to that. This is a simple cash & calorie saving idea that EVERYONE can do, from chef to foodie.

Talk to the people that make your food. I went to the farmer's market in Jamaica last Friday, as well as the Friday before. I picked up yellow tomatoes, and some Crispin (a.k.a. Mutsus) apples to try out. I was also checking out some baby pears and local greens, but I passed on buying them.

I really dug the Crispins, so I went back. I'd spied the baby pears I from the week before and the farmer noticed this, and remembered me from that other Friday. Since I'd asked him questions and bought some goods before, he let me try the baby pears for free. He originally offered me one, but I ended up with four.

Now, before you run off to become BFFs with your local corner store guy, be mindfl that this won't happen each time. They need to sell their food to live, and stuff. However, I find that I get really good fruit when I talk to my produce guy. I have 2 regular ones I visit. They like that I actually buy stuff, that I often come back for more stuff, and that I tell people their stuff is good. In exchange, I get good, well priced seasonal fruit and monthly samples.

What's also cool about talking to the people is that you get it straight from the source. If you want something in particular, they'll be happy to tell you when they'll have it since you come back. You'll also be rationing out because you're buying what you need -- I love strawberries, but I won't buy 4-5 cartons if I can't take them home easily.

My main fruit man is on the corner of Parsons & Jamaica Avenue in Queens. I call him my little strawberry man because he once told me he only gets strawberries as sweet as him. To this day, I cannot get him to repeat that message to anyone else, because I used it once to help him with a sell. Heh.

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