So, today I shopped at Sprouts Farmers Market for my weekly produce in the hope of finding at least a few items grown a little closer to home, and also reducing the packaging waste that comes with shopping at Trader Joes which is where I have been going mainly out of convenience, and because I do love many of their items. Sprouts however is further away. I did try to combine it with a trip to the library with the girls but it was closed. We will go again though.
Sprouts has a huge selection of produce, it generally seems to be good value, but of course, I could not find anything grown closer to here than any of the other grocery stores. I don't know quite what I am expecting really? I mean we live in a desert, but there are many huge farms here in-state, growing stuff, so where does all that go? I didn't find any of it today, although to be fair, I of course only checked out a very few items relative to the size of the store. It is a big store. The web site states that they try to purchase from local farmers whenever possible. I am confused about growing seasons as well. I know that there are two growing seasons here for veggies. Is it the same for the big farms or do they use hot houses in the cold weather, and shade structures in the heat of the summer? Questions, questions!
The organic produce was looking rather the worse for wear, wilted, and tired looking.(Kind of mirrored how I was feeling actually). I certainly don't expect organic produce to be all big and perfect like conventionally grown stuff, but I do need produce that doesn't have to be used immediately. I am guessing Monday is probably the worse day to do produce shopping for that very reason, and I am also guessing that local produce is hardly never sold at the chain stores. Has everyone else already figured that out except for me? Trader Joe's did have those local eggs though, so it must be possible. I will continue to search at least, and post when and if I find other local products in the bigger chain grocery stores.
So, I bought nearly all conventional produce today, mostly grown in Mexico it seems, and a little from California. To be honest I am feeling overwhelmed. I mean what am I trying to achieve here? I would like to be able to buy fresh, seasonal, organic, fairly locally grown produce, without having to drive miles to get it, and without it taking over my life, which is what it is already beginning to feel like. Written out like that it does make me sound like I am living in some dream world! Sadly, The convenience of one stop shopping can't be underestimated here, and therein lies an issue with green living in our busy lives.
I will look online at the CSA farms in my area today. The one we had before delivered to OUR DOOR! Did I ever really appreciate that enough? I also want to go to the phoenix farmers market downtown that runs every Wednesday, and Saturday year round, looks fantastic, and which I am ashamed to say I only recently learned existed.
The one good thing that came out of today was that I rediscovered all the loose stuff at Sprouts, you know, all the bins with pasta, flour etc. Now that is great and something I will definitely take advantage of. It seems to be competatively priced, and of course reduces waste. I can use the little plastic bags for the dogs so they wont be wasted as I would have to use some kind of bag anyway.
One day all this rumination will be past when we are growing most of our own!! Of course in the meantime I could always shop at Wholefoods, which is quite close, and has plenty of organic produce. However, as LOVELY as that place is, I hardly ever go because of the huge expense, and besides, although I haven't checked, I feel sure that not a whole lot from there is grown any closer to here than anywhere else. Sigh. CSA and Farmers markets are the way to go with this of course, supplemented with other stores.
On a brighter side note, check this out! Very interesting, and inspiring too.