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I love shopping. All kinds. Food shopping is a fave activity, which is a good thing, considering my profession, and given the fact that sometimes my job involves showing others how to shop. Where do you shop? It largely depends upon where you live, but even if you do not have access to seasonal farmers’ markets or organic groceries, you can still be a savvy shopper.

Food shopping should be seasonal, a lost art in stores these days when we can get berries in the dead of winter and asparagus in the fall. Berries and stone fruits are in peak season during summer, where you can often find them cheap & local. Asparagus is in season now, in spring, which is why it’ll cost you $5 or more a bunch during winter, when it’s traveled thousands of miles to hit your plate. Not good for the environment or your wallet, and eating seasonally is good for your health. Lighter foods are seasonal during warmer months: berries & lower sugar (but still sweet!!) fruits, lighter greens and salad mix. Heartier root vegetables like yams and acorn squash and higher fiber, denser fruits such as pears and apples are seasonal during the winter, when we need higher calorie foods for warmth.

Anyway, let’s talk shopping. Here is your list for spring:
Lemons (put slices in water, use for roasting fish & chicken)
Fruit for smoothies, both frozen (berries) and fresh: mangoes, bananas, strawberries
Organic mixed greens
Kale
Swiss Chard
Dandelion greens
Celery
Broccoli
Purple cabbage
Avocado
Carrots
Onions, garlic, shallots
Beets (red & golden)
Cucumber
occasionally, I’ll get snap peas, ginger, celery root and other less-needed ingredients for recipes
Meats:
Wild fish (salmon, cod)
Chicken–get a whole one & roast it
Ground beef, buffalo, lamb
Organic sausages from the deli case (nitrite free)
Organic deli meats (optional)
Whole flaxseeds to grind in smoothies or yogurt (if you tolerate dairy)
Can you find raw dairy in your area? If you can find raw milk, you can make your own yogurt or kefir.
Goat or sheep yogurt & cheese
Nuts (walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts)
Nut butter: almond butter, tahini
Seeds (chia, hemp, pumpkin)
STAPLES:
Do you have Extra virgin olive oil, virgin coconut oil, coconut milk, brown rice, quinoa, veggie & chicken broth, garbanzo beans, vinegar (rice, balsamic), tamari, hummus, mustard, lentils, beans, organic green tea, herbal tea, Epsom salts for bath, hemp/pea/brown rice or cold processed whey (if you handle dairy) protein powder, spices (cinnamon, curry, herbs de provence), dark chocolate (NEED IT in my house).

Obviously, I recommend patronizing your local farmers’ markets for these foods as much as possible. If you do not live near a farmers’ market, consider joining a CSA program (community supported agriculture) and get a produce box delivery. We have meat CSAs in the SF bay area, but you can order top quality meats from eatwild.com or tropicaltraditions.com. They have other high quality staples, too.

You can probably find organic chicken and beef at most any supermarket now days. If you have to choose to buy only one thing organic, always buys organic meat and dairy. The hormones and antibiotics and toxins in conventional meats have no place in our bodies, and I don’t need to mention how poorly the animals are treated. As for produce, you can buy fruits and veggies with skin/peel conventional (bananas, pineapple, avocado) and others organic, especially berries, apples, greens.

When you hit the grocery store, stick to the perimeter to get your whole foods: the meat, veggies, and fruits. If the store has bulk bins, get your grains & beans & nuts there. The middle aisles house all the boxed foods, mostly processed: cookies, crackers, cereal, canned goods. Although we all use canned goods in a pinch, especially beans, it’s good to use them sparingly because the can liners contain a chemical called BPA that leaches into the food, causing endocrine problems (I know, right?). Don’t be fooled by the boxed stuff at the health food store. Even “organic” and “all natural” can still have processed junk in it. Read labels carefully and look for hidden sugars, preservatives, and things you cannot pronounce.

Personally, I am leaning farther away from shopping at the grocery store as much as I used to. I get a produce box delivered and am joining the Marin Sun Farms meat CSA that serves my area. (I would consider using the websites I mentioned above for meat delivery, too). With those deliveries, I’ll only need to hit the store for staples and the market for additional veggies, but I can already tell it’s a time saver! Hopefully you have access in your area. Happy shopping!

Fresh Farmers’ Market Stir Fry
1 lb. organic lean beef, sliced into thin strips
3 tablespoons Virgin Coconut Oil
1/2 c yellow onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 tablespoons tamari
1 teaspoon ginger root, grated
2 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/2 cup beef broth
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup red pepper
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
1 cup broccoli
Procedure:
Heat Virgin coconut oil in a wok or cast iron pan. Fry beef until browned. Remove and drain. Set aside. Stir-fry ginger and onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon of Virgin coconut oil for about a minute. Add remaining veggies, minus mushrooms. Add beef broth, soy sauce, vinegar and stir. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and toss beef back in. Simmer for a couple minutes until flavors mingle. Add salt to taste if needed. Serve!