Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Oh, Do You Know the Grocery Man?

More importantly, have you formed a relationship with the person at the seafood counter, meat counter, or the produce manager?  If not, well...you should.

Today I went to Fresh Market to purchase some groceries.  As I strolled through the produce aisles, the Produce Manager pointed me in the direction of the shitake mushrooms that he had just put in the bin (they are sold in bulk at FM).  Those will be in one of my meals later in the week.

As I approached the Seafood Counter, I could tell that the Fishmonger remembered me.  That smile you get from someone when they recognize you, but don't necessarily know your name.  On my last visit we had struck up a conversation about all the places we had lived.  He and his wife had just moved back to Indianapolis from San Francisco, and I was very jealous!  So, as I was making my seafood choices he mentioned that he and his wife had just tried a sushi restaurant and that my hubby and I should try it.  When your fishmonger recommends a sushi restaurant and he has lived in San Francisco, you trust his judgement.  We will be visiting the place he mentioned, and I will report back to you on it.  He also told me that the tuna was great today, which was obvious just by looking at it, but I appreciated him pointing it out, none the less.

At the Meat Counter, the Butcher and I had never met before.  So I joked around with him a bit and then asked him what was good today.  Of course at first you get the standard, "It's all good!"  But with a little more prodding I was able to find out that there was some great lamb sausages available today, and that I should wait til Saturday to get any beef because there is an "event" happening.  So, even though I did not purchase anything at the Meat Counter today, I walked away with a wealth of knowledge.  Had I not already had so much perishable seafood in my basket, the lamb would have come home with me for sure.

The point here, is that you should get to know these people if you are able to shop in a store where you can actually talk to them.  Joke around with them.  Let them know what level of foodie or chef you are, and they can sometimes point you in the direction of some fantastic food, and often get you the best value for your money!

So, what is in the basket today?

From the Produce Department we have (all Organic unless otherwise noted):

Shitake Mushrooms
Baby Portobello Mushrooms
Boston Lettuce
Green Beans (not organic)
Carrots with their tops
Red Beets with their tops (this is a two for one veggie: greens and beets)
Baby Spinach
Red Pears
Aurora Apples (my new favorite)

From the Seafood Department we have (all Wild and Fresh)

Sashimi Grade Tuna
American Shrimp
Blue Mussels

As I type the mussels are in a bowl of floured water so that they can purge.  They were quite muddy when I got them home, so I knew they needed it (remembered they are wild, not cultivated), plus all their beards were in their shells, and the purge helps to get them to spit their beards out (so to speak).

We have decided this is the year to really start paying even closer attention to what we are putting in our bodies.  Our intent is to buy more organic produce, and more wild seafood, grass-fed meats, and free range poultry.  I discovered an amazing food co-op here in Indy for the meat and poultry, and I can't wait to get my first delivery of meats in March.  I will be writing more on that soon as well.

That is all for now, as the mussels are calling my name!

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