When we moved to the Heights almost six years ago, we visited the famous Canino's Market that is on the fringe of the neighborhood. Many of the local chefs frequent the establishment and base their weekly menus on the produce found there. We thought we'd give it a try and since we were both working, we went on a Saturday morning and were less than impressed. It was difficult to find a parking spot, hardly anyone spoke English and it was so crowded that I could barely breathe. Needless to say, we didn't go back. Until a few weeks ago.
At the urging of some of my playgroup friends and to lower our grocery bill (now that all four of us are eating solid food), we went back. This time we went on a Saturday afternoon and that eased both the parking and crowd situations. The number of Spanish-speaking patrons (and workers) still outweighed the English-speaking ones, but that didn't seem to bother me this time around. And the amount of fresh, quality produce that we got on our shoestring budget convinced me to go back.
Now I go on Monday mornings with both of the kids and we love it. I have no problems with parking or crowds and the the staff is so sweet to both of the kids. Sydney gets offers of free popcorn from the concession lady (they have Coke in glass bottles for $1!) and Liam flirts with all of the ladies who tickle his toes. The produce is some of the freshest I've ever seen and it is so inexpensive I almost can't believe my eyes. Take a look at what I got today for $34:
Fruits - a whole pineapple, oranges, apples, grapes, plums, bananas
Vegetables - green beans, asparagus, 1015 onions, sweet potatoes, red potatoes, zucchini, Roma tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, avocados, carrots
Nuts - 1 lb. whole almonds, 1 lb. slivered almonds
If I'd bought all of that at Central Market, I would have easily spent twice as much. Not to mention the fact that since everything is so fresh, I have started making Liam's baby food so that saves us even more money in the long run.
Someday I'll be brave enough to venture into the back of the market where local farmers set up individual tables to sell their unique produce. I don't know how to cut up or prepare things like cactus leaves, bok choy or papaya. Maybe I should learn.
Fall on Mercer Island
1 day ago