Because we try to keep to a grocery budget I try not to get too swept away with the vendors outside of “what we need.” Just ask yourself, “Is this something I need and keep stocked in my kitchen?” If the answer is yes, buying these items locally is the best decision for your health and your community!
Some of the items I keep in my kitchen that I buy from the market are olive oil and honey
We try and stay away from refined sugar in our home. We haven’t cut it out of our diet completely. It has worked as a wonderful balance for us to “ban” sugar from our house and enjoy it as a special treat when we are guests in other peoples home or out and about. As a replacement we use raw, local honey. It’s delicious and unlike refined sugar has health benefits to boot. Honey is known to soothe allergy symptoms and prevent cancer. It is also anti-fungal and can help ease the discomfort of a sore throat. Oh did I mention it’s absolutely delicious???
It is important to get local, raw honey because conventional honey (honey typically found in the grocery store...think plastic bear) is usually filtered and heated to the point where it loses all it’s beneficial properties. Studies actually show that conventional pasteurized honey is about the same as refined sugar. So don’t miss out on all the health benefits of honey by purchasing it from the grocery store. I just learned from our honey man that the darker the honey the better it is for you! It has more antioxidants. Read more here. Darker honey often means a stronger ‘honey” flavor so if you are using honey as a substitute for sugar keep this in mind. We just finished a large jar of sage honey which is very mild and we purchased a jar of star thistle honey( much much darker), I’ll let you know how it goes!
When you are purchasing honey at a Farmer’s Market ask your farmer:
- Is this heated in anyway? You are looking for the answer to be NO. You want your honey to be RAW.
- Is your honey filtered? Our honey man says he lightly filters the honey to make sure you don’t end up with a bee leg floating around in your jar, so that works for me.
Confused on how to sub honey for sugar? Ok let’s be honest...So am I! I’ll be blogging some recipes in the coming weeks as I experiment with swapping sugar out for honey.
It’s so frustrating to me when I find out yet another food item I have to be wary of. Needless to say when I read a blog entry about contaminated olive oil I just took a long sigh. NOT AGAIN. I just hate that so many “healthy foods” I used to love contain really bad ingredients and now this wonderful healthy fat isn’t even real more than half the time!!! Want to read more about this scam? Click here. Well I did a little digging and found out that most olive oil you buy from the grocery is a fraud. Dr. Oz just talked about fraudulent olive oil and if you want to read more click here. There are some tricks you can use to find out if your olive oil is the real deal but none of them are fail proof. If you are curious to test this out what you do is stick your olive oil in the fridge for a day or two. Apparently the real thing will get really cloudy and thicken up a bit. Well when we did this we saw cloudy oil in the bottle but we also saw completely clear still thin oil in the bottle as well. I read that this test isn’t a reliable indicator of real vs fake olive oil but it was fun to give it a shot.
Some of you might be wondering why I think this is such a big deal. Well these cheap oils are BAD BAD BAD for you! The SAD ( standard american diet) is full of the fake oils and if you ask me they are a huge contributor to the obesity epidemic in our country. I encourage you to start noticing how much soy, canola and vegetable oil you see in the foods you are eating. It was truly alarming to see how many products I thought were healthy contained this stuff.
OK! Cheap vegetable oil rant over. Back to olive oil. So extra virgin olive oil is one of the good fats. We use it quite often to make our own salad dressing I have the BEST recipe which I will share soon. But if i’m going to use it I want the real thing! So how do I get it? Well if you live in California you are lucky because we can buy local olive oil at the farmers market. You can talk to the seller and find out about their oil. Our particular seller is very proud of his product and always loves telling us about his oil. Now if you are reading this and you live somewhere that is not conducive to purchasing olive oil locally I’ll make a few recommendations. Your best bet is to purchase it online. As with all quality products expect to spend more than you would at the grocery store. To shop for real olive oil click here ,here or here.
What items are staples for you at the farmers market other than produce and meat? I’d love to hear from you!