On January 9th the Viking Family decided to take a No Conventional Grocery Store challenge. You can read about it here.
We had many reasons to take this challenge but we also discovered many unexpected riches and rewards in taking this challenge.
We are very blessed to have many local Farmer's Markets in our county. Our first step was to plan our week and our meals. I use Cozi.com Menu Planner to plan out our families weekly meals. From these menus I was able to plan out our shopping lists.
As it turned out we have three Farmer's Markets that fit beautifully in our family rhythm. We had the choice of shopping on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. The BIG Farmer's Market was on Sunday. To find a local Farmer's Market in your area check out this site here.
We originally started going to the Big Farmer's Market every Sunday. We quickly discovered that we didn't need to attend the Big Farmer's Market every Sunday with the other two available during the week. Plus, the trip to the Big Farmer's Market became an all day affair which limited out time on other projects.
During this challenge we learned many things besides shopping for fresh food.
A humorous one we learned was about arriving early. I wrote about our first big adventure here.
We also have experienced those wonderful moments in parenthood when the unexpected becomes those perfect little teaching moments. I wrote about them here.
What developed were the Blessing Bags. These little bags have items in them that the Viking Children can give to the Homeless.
The Viking Children have also developed a wide scope of stories they have shared in class with their teachers and classmates. My favorite story from my son, that was retold to me by his teacher, was about the "Message Man who makes Viking Mom walk better." My daughter added the additional description of the "Strawberry Doctor who makes Viking Mommy walk a better." As his teacher explained she had complained that her back hurt in class. Viking Monkey Boy told her that she needed to see the "Message Man at the Farmer's Market who helps Viking Mommy walk better." The addition of "Strawberry Doctor" only added to her vivid imagination but also to her confusion. So, here is the "Rest of the Story." On one of our trips to the Big Farmer's Market we discovered and met Dr. Collan Koeppen of Active Rest Chiropractic. On his booth table he always has fresh strawberries, thus "The Strawberry Doctor." In a short period of time, Dr. Collan has managed to stabilize my neck and reduce my migraines and chronic headaches. He has been so worth the trip the Big Farmer's Market. It also has added to our growing list of unexpected moments in this adventure.
Another fun story comes from Viking Lady Bug. Our Viking Lady Bug loves to dress up and bows, ribbons and fancy hair items are always part of her attire. One of the Moms at our Humble Little School asked her where she got her cute hairband. She touched it and said, "The Hair Bow Lady at the Big Farmer's Market made it for me. Do you like it?"
In another trip to the Big Farmer's Market we met the "Hair Bow Lady." Now, there are many colorful people at this Big Farmer's Market and the Hair Bow Lady is one of those adorable people you can't resist to hug every time you see her. She also makes adorable and one of kind hair bows and hairbands for little girls. Her real name is Vyvienne and she owns Vyvienne's Headbands here in San Diego. Please if you find her booth at any of the Farmer's Market in San Diego county stop by and say "Hello" to her. She is a delight.
Now, an interesting twist in our adventure has occurred. We realized very quickly that certain items we use on a daily basis can't be found at the Farmer's Market or are waaaaay toooooo expensive. We decided for these items that we would use Sprout's Farmer Market to acquire these items. We just couldn't find toilet paper at the Farmer's Markets or toothpaste no matter how hard we looked.
If you get a chance... take a look at Sonrise Ranch. Not only do they make me homesick but their meat is out of this world. Buying their meat is our bi-weekly splurge.
In summary, have we saved money? I am not sure. That will have to be another post.
Are we having fun and eating healthier? You bet!
Are we learning and loving from the unexpected? Yes we are! And we are embracing each moment.
All in all... I think we are going to continue going to the Big Farmer's Market on Sunday and use the other two during the week for the those "oops we need this" moments.
Our new goal. Using Farmer's Markets to prepare for Winter and the next California earthquake..... or the Zombie Apocalypse. Which ever comes first.