Green Market is the Place to be…

Salmon with a Scallion, Watermelon, and Tomato Salad

Coming off of the $15/15 challenge, I was really looking forward to getting back into the kitchen with some freedom. As I said yesterday, it’s not as if I plan on forgetting all the valuable advantages of being a bit frugal but I was missing that creative spark that grabs me as I walk through the market. Even though it was often beyond my budget, through the past week I really tried to shop local and organic. It’s no secret at this point that supporting local agriculture has benefits of all sorts. By reducing the time it takes to transport the food, you are not only ensured to have a fresher product (which almost always means more flavor) but the ecological footprint is decreased. In addition, many local farms focus on quality over quantity and there is nothing better than buying directly from the source. It makes the whole process way more enjoyable. And despite the ridiculous amount of supermarkets on almost every corner in the city, there are a number of CSA programs offering local produce and most accessibly, the Green Market in Union Square offers everything from zucchini blossoms to free range chickens. So why haven’t I taken advantage more often…

Once again money rules all. Supporting local agriculture can certainly get a bit expensive. But how much of the stigma is perception? Well, I don’t think there’s a simple answer to this question but there’s only one way to find out…

I’ve decided to start taking advantage of the Green Market as frequently as I can. I’m lucky that my walk home from work passes right through Union Square but I have often skipped out on the local variety to browse through Whole Foods. I’m sure my thought process has been the comfort of knowing what will be there, and where to find it, but sometimes you have to break out of your comfort zone to see what your missing.

Because I got to the market later in the day when the fish vendors have long since run down on product, I decided to stop in at Whole Foods to pick up some Salmon. I had a craving for one of my favorite fish, and despite the per pound price, individual portions don’t get that pricey. But I was shocked to find out what I am still sure must be a mistake. Wild Coho Salmon was listed at $12.99 per pound. As I was about to order a portion for my meal, my peripheral vision caught something more intriguing. 6 oz portions of the same Wild Coho Salmon for $3.79. Now, let me break this down for a second. There are 16 oz in one pound. You can do the math but this means that the pre-portioned Salmon clocks in just over $10 a pound. So what’s the catch? I’m still wondering that myself…

But back to the meal. Salmon in hand, I walked through the Green Market hoping the fresh produce would guide me to my composed dish. The first thing I came upon were some amazing looking heirloom tomatoes. Then came the watermelon. Much smaller than what you are used to seeing in the grocery store, these watermelons were sweet (free samples always get me) and had just enough bite, the way I like it. My brain kicked into gear and I knew that all I needed was some green onion and few greens to make my dish. Picking up some fresh arugula and the largest bunch of scallions I had ever seen, I was on my way home excited to eat and feeling great about my choices.

When you purchase fresh ingredients like these, the best way to prepare them is without many bells and whistles. A little sea salt, some fresh ground pepper, and some good olive oil will go along way. This wild salmon over arugula with a heirloom tomato, watermelon, and scallion salad was a light, flavorful, and healthy meal that when really broken down didn’t cost as much as you would think.

I don’t want to make this blog all about money but I think it’s important to consider. My grand total was $14.29. Now you might think that’s a bit pricey for a home cooked meal but wait just one second. I used just a few pieces of watermelon, leaving the rest of this ripe and delicious fruit for future snacks. I used only a few scallions out of the twenty or so in the bunch and half of the tomato was sufficient for this meal as well. Being generous with my cost analysis, this meal really only cost about $8.00 to make. That isn’t bad at all! But this means nothing if the extra ingredients don’t get put to use.

Fried Egg, Heirloom Tomato, Salmon, and Scallion Pesto

I rarely blog about my breakfast because I rarely eat something worth mentioning. But this morning was a different story. How good does this look! A slice of heirloom tomato and a fried egg served with a small amount of salmon from last night and some scallion pesto I made with the leftovers in the bunch. Plus I have all that watermelon! So am I saying that the perception of expense at the Green Market is invalid? No of course not. But just like I’ve said before, with a little creativity you can eat well while making good decisions, all without breaking the bank in the process.

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