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Farmer’s Market Season: How I Use Fresh Produce

Bento using Produce from Better Food Farm

Hey…you…it’s been a bit. How are you doing? Oh, me? Just fine. Fine, indeed. It’s Farmer’s Market season in my city and I couldn’t be any happier to get my hands on some fresh produce. Other than that, things have been pretty routine. Calm. Serene.

Produce from Better Food Farm
*Insert heart-eye emojis here*

Where the theme of my 20’s would have been all drama, the theme of my 30’s is…*sigh of relief* stable routine. Every day looks about the same: get home, prepare smoothie and pull out a homemade freezer breakfast sandwich for the next day, shower, and go to bed at the same time every night. Get up early, go to work, eat the lunch we packed on Sunday, and…repeat. Yes, there’s still room for excitement and impromptu dinners with friends, but it feels nice to always have a plan for the ordinary.

A lot of this is due in part with the help of weekly meal prepping

The weekends are pretty loosey-goosey. We spend all Saturday morning exploring our city, indulging in some meals out, and working on passion projects. Then, we do our grocery shopping for the upcoming week. This includes a visit to the Farmer’s Market where we get to stock up on some local produce.

Fresh produce can make all the difference…

Because I prep all of our meals for the week on Sunday, I have to make things last. For that, I have a few tricks up my sleeves:

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  • First, we start of with the uber fresh produce from local providers like Better Food Farms. Starting off with fresh produce means that you’re not trying to stretch radishes picked before maturity that have already had a long journey in the back of a truck. You get radishes that were picked at most a couple days ago.
  • Second is storage. You’ll want to wait to wash and cut most produce until right when you cook it. So, whatever I don’t use in my weekly meal prep, stays intact and is stored in an OXO-brand produce saver. These things will keep your lettuce amazingly fresh for weeks. I kept a batch of spinach fresh for over a month thanks to these. It uses a carbon filter to absorb ethylene gas, the culprit for most produce spoilage. For things like grapes, I do actually take them off the vine and wash them, then store them sealed tight in a mason jar, like a Ball or Kerr brand jar paired with an easy-open lid. Grapes last about a week later using this method.
  • Then, Sunday afternoon I prep everything. This takes anywhere from an hour to two hours, depending on what I’m making. Most of this is passive time as I use a slow cooker, rice cooker, and food processor to do most of the hard work. An Instant Pot would work great for this, too, but alas I gave mine away when we downsized. Everything then gets packed into a bento box (for my work lunches and dinner) or a glass lock container (for my husband’s dinners).
  • Finally, reheating any hot foods. My husband gets off work earlier than I do, so he microwaves his at home. The glass lock containers I use for his dinners work really well in the microwave because the glass distributes the heat really well. For me, however, I had to find a way to pack two meals (my cold lunch and my hot dinner) in a way that I can easily reheat at work. I have a weird aversion to the office microwave, so I bought this amazing insulated bag with a hot plate. I can collapse it and store it into a desk drawer when I’m done with it. It’s one of my favorite recent finds.
Bento using Produce from Better Food Farm
My usual work lunch : a fresh salad with lots of texture, and a hard boiled egg or some salmon for protein.

But what about breakfast…you know, the most important meal of the day?!

Breakfast is just a smoothie for both of us, and a homemade freezer breakfast sandwich (English muffin, cheese, and sausage patty wrapped in cling wrap and placed en-masse into a freezer safe bag) for the hubby, and we’re good to go. If I am planning to go to spin class (my new obsession), then I add some Soylent to my breakfast smoothie for some extra calories and nutrition – chocolate flavor is my favorite.

I make the breakfast sandwiches at the beginning of the month and, let me tell you, batch preparing these is so easy and saves us so much time. Totally worth the time investment.

So, how about you? How do you take advantage of the seasonal produce?

Produce from Better Food Farm
Lettuce and onions and cilantro…Oh My!

Let us know in the comments below.

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