Tag Archives: Farmers’ market

My Trip to the Farmer’s Market

I love going to the community farmer’s market. I don’t go as often as I should, because I keep forgetting. Out of sight out of mind, I guess. But whenever I’m visiting my hometown in SC during the summer, I always remember to go because it’s located right across the street from an outside mall I frequently visit or drive past. That wasn’t always the case. Before I moved away, the only option was going all the way downtown to the large city-run one. Road side farmers started popping up right before I left, but it would be years later before organized community markets started to become the norm.

I suppose that was the case everywhere. When I first moved to Nashville, the only Farmer’s Market was the large one, again, in the downtown area. I lived 15 miles away, and even though I worked downtown, the traffic and parking wasn’t worth trying to get there during lunchtime. I’ve actually been a little surprised by how slow the community markets have come up around here. But since moving to a town just to the south of Nashville, I found one that sets up on the downtown square, only six miles from where I now live. It’s worth the short drive, past all the grocery stores, to pick up fresh vegetables; mostly grown locally. And many of the items I pick up cost less than what’s in the store. I mean, have you noticed there’s almost never a store coupon for fruits and fresh vegetables?! 

I’ve gotten to where I enjoy walking around the farmer’s market; even with the summer heat. It’s kinda nice looking at all of the small farm and family booths and checking out what their farms have yielded. I think that even while we’re watching our money, trying to stick to a budget, and stretch our paychecks each month, we cannot forsake our health in the process. One of the things we don’t think about, and that is not often taught or talked about, is the fact that not eating healthy will often cost you more in the long run. Someone once said to me, you can pay more now to eat right and do the things needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle, or you can pay more later, with the cost of doctors’ visits and medications from diseases we develop, mostly attached to our unhealthy lifestyles.

I’ve decided to only use cash when I go to the market now, so that I can control how much I’m spending. The other decision I made was to not buy more than what I could prepare and eat in one week’s time. In the past, too often I’ve ended up having to throw away some of my vegetables if I couldn’t eat them fast enough before they started browning, wilting and growing mold. I always feel bad when that happens because wasted food is wasted money! I recently read that Americans waste  approximately 150,000 tons of food each day, which comes out to be about a waste of one pound a day per person. That is ridiculously sad; especially given the number of people who go to bed hungry every day in America. 

While I can’t control what other people do, I am motivated to do more of my part, and not contribute to the  “American waste” mentality. And I do think it’s a “mentality.” Here in America, we live in a society where no one likes to be told what to do; certainly not what or how much to buy. Where “rights” have overtaken common sense. I mean, why else were so many people originally against wearing seatbelts and still fight helmet laws?  

Regarding food, I still think about how so many schools were against Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution; when he set out to show how the foods being served in many American schools were high fat, high sugar, high sodium, processed foods, that were contributing to the increase in childhood obesity, and the decline in the overall health of children at much younger ages. The state governments may be saving money by the food choices they make for the schools, but parents of these kids are spending more time and money in doctor’s offices, and setting up an unhealthy lifestyle that their child will have to deal with once they become adults, and the cost gets transferred on to them.

But I digress.

So being single, I have had to learn how to figure out what’s enough and what’s too much, because there’s no one else helping you eat it. That’s why I also try to only buy those things I know I like, or in some cases, things I know I need, like these beets. I don’t like them, but I’ve figured out a way to prepare them to help me try to eat them more often, mostly because of all of the nutritional benefits they provide. 


As you work on your monthly budget, and make out your weekly shopping lists, remember to leave room for the bigger picture. Plan today so that you’re not paying a bigger price tomorrow.

Summer on the Cheap!

Kimberly Pierce Carter is a stay-at-home mom of three children, ages 10, 6 and 3. “Being a stay at home mom is the best and the hardest job I’ve ever had,” said Kimberly, whose two daughters and young son keep her busy. “I learn something new about my children or myself almost every day!”

Having only one source of income, one thing Kimberly has also learned is how to seek out the best deals for her family, not just at the grocery store or mall, but to provide various activities and educational opportunities beyond the classroom, without spending a lot.


“When summer approaches, one of the first things I do is check out our local library summer schedule,” she says. “Our library has a fantastic summer reading program and they give the kids little prizes along the way, which helps to keep my kids motivated to want to read.”

In most communities, libraries are an excellent place to find not just reading programs, but other activities geared for kids of all ages. Some places offer plays, live music, and even arts and crafts. “Our library has some fantastic programs all during the summer and they are free! From one-man puppet shows, to African rhythm instruments, to a wildlife exhibition, there is always something to see or do once or twice a week, in addition to story times.”

Another outlet that Kimberly takes advantage of during these long days of summer is Vacation Bible School (VBS) at her church. Most VBS programs are open to community kids, regardless of whether or not they are members of that church, and just like programs at the library, most VBSs are free. “One of the things I like about the VBS programs in our area is that the kids get to learn about God, make various crafts, play games, and meet new friends; kids who may not attend their school.”

Other activities that parents can get their kids involved in range from special free movies that Regal Cinemas (and other movie theaters) offers throughout the summer or heading to the local city or state parks for a picnic or nature hikes. “We pack our lunch, sunscreen, some sidewalk chalk, a container of bubbles, and a few outdoor games, and it makes for another great day in the outdoors.” Many parks offer free or minimal cost nature programs and special projects for kids to engage in as well.

Just like with parks, moms can also look for street festivals, community fairs, music programs, and other special events designed to attract families. “At least once a month our Farmers Market holds a family night with games, face painting, and other entertainment. And of course, going also gives us access to some great local produce.”

So just because your kids are out of school for the summer, doesn’t mean you have to spend hundreds of dollars sending them off to camp, or think that saving money means  having them sit in front of the television or playing computer games all day. There are a lot of free or inexpensive things to do with your kids that can be educational, entertaining, and fun experiences for the whole family.

Kimberly and the kids

Kimberly has been married to her husband Chance for over 16 years, and they live in the San Francisco East Bay area.