I started out early at the Sam Smith Park Farmer’s Market. I had been there on the first morning, but there were few stalls set up. I thought I would wait a couple weeks and check it out again. There were a dozen or more stalls now, a much more robust set-up, and there were some nice looking products available.
I bought a few things because I like the idea of having a local market, but I thought the prices were out of line, at least for me. The words GMO-free and gluten-free and organic and local were being tossed about, and maybe that’s code for super-expensive. My neighbour said these were farmers’ market prices and to be fair I don’t go to a lot of farmer’s markets so what do I know?
$3 for a cookie seems really expensive to me, though, even if it contains the best ingredients and even if it is a generous-sized cookie. I suppose they would charge that at a Starbucks but going into a Starbucks, you know everything is over-priced. 4 medium-sized tomatoes for $5 is expensive, even if they are GMO-free organic, and locally grown heirloom varieties. One stall had great-looking corn, but $5 for half a dozen cobs is extremely expensive. A local pie place had lemon squares that were more attractively priced, and I have no ability to resist lemon squares.
There were pies and there were soups and there was an artisan bakery there and everything looked great. It as just mostly all outside my snack bracket. I can see stopping by once in a while for a special treat (I just ate one of the lemon squares I bought and it was delicious) but I can’t bring myself to do any regular produce shopping there, though.
I guess I had a different idea about what a farmer’s market was all about. I kind of expected stalls set up in front of 5-ton trucks full of produce just driven down from the farm, with loads of produce and enough vendors to keep prices honest. The Sam Smith market is more of a niche shopping experience, a place that specializes in the highest-end items. If I had a family to feed and I wanted to be sure they ate produce that was chemical-free, I think having a vegetable garden or plot somewhere to grow my own would be the only way to go, short of a lotto win.
Next stop was Purrfect Pets at Lakeshore and Twenty Seventh to pick up some kibble (and more) for the partners. I enjoy the shopping experience at this store. Michelle and Rory are great to deal with and they go out of their way to make sure you’re a happy customer. They get my top recommendation for pet supplies.
I headed west to Curry’s on Queensway in Mississauga for some encaustic paint sticks. This is basically pigment mixed into melted wax medium then cooled in stick-shaped molds. I’ve started in on the new series of work, and wanted to stock up on more colours. My intention was to use oil paint with the wax medium (I’ve cooked up a batch of medium for this purpose, mixing beeswax and damar gum) and I may yet do that, but I’ve been enjoying the pre-made encaustic paint a lot. One of the qualities I like about it is that it is completely dry as soon as the wax cools. I don’t know if you’ve been into an art supply store recently, but it’s like hooking up your bank account to a giant vaccuum hose. Good thing I controlled my spending (somewhat) at the market.
After Curry’s I drove up to Starsky’s on Dundas, west of The West Mall. Starsky’s is a madhouse on Saturdays, but I like their meat, and their sausage is fantastic. The usual plan of attack shopping at Starsky’s is to walk right to the deli counter, where they sell the kielbasa, and get your number. Then go and do the rest of your shopping, keeping half an eye on what number is being called. Don’t miss your number being called out, though. They won’t wait and you will lose your spot. Today I was number 025 and they were “now serving” 61. By the time I finished the rest of my shopping, they werer only at 81. This was unusual because usually they are very fast at the sausage counter. I abandoned ship and headed home without kielbasa.
There were a few items I can’t get at Starsky’s which meant a quick stop at the No Frills on the way home. That was OK though, because it’s right next door to the liquor store, and I wanted to get a few beers. The guy who orders the beer for this store is crazy for craft beer and the selection is silly-wonderful.
I commented to the cashier that they carry more brands of craft beer than College St has restaurants. That’s a lot of selection. I can’t drink more than one or maybe two beers in a day, and I don’t stick to any one brand. Usually I’ll buy 4 or 5 cans, each of them a different crazy exotic brand. I suppose I should be as price-sensitive when buying beer as I am buying groceries, but I’m not. I like the brews from the various small breweries a lot, and I confess having a few in the house is an indulgence.
I got home and unloaded, to find I missed two or three things on my list. How could that have happened? I’m not going back for more shopping today though. No way. I have some work to do outside and I’m heading there now.