I don’t like shopping. There, I said it. The younger version of me loved shopping. The thrill of spending my day (and chunk of my pay check) at the the biggest, shiniest mega-mall or top-end boutique once was a favourite past-time. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve increasingly lost the desire to step foot in any sort of store that needs me to take off my gumboots. When I can, I shop online and amble down to the post office to collect any parcels in my own time. Life is busy and complicated enough, so it’s been nice to discover I’m just as happy without adding an endless supply of ‘stuff’ to my life.
I still shop each week, it’s just a different kind of shopping. It’s the sort of shopping that brings me joy. It’s shopping that supports my local community, shopping that fuels me for the week ahead and makes me feel healthy. Though I can’t quite believe it myself, one of my new favourite past-times is veggie shopping.
Enjoy the journey
There’s a few rituals in our household on a Sunday. Fresh sheets on the bed and towels in the bathroom, a quick tidy around the house, bins out and, when that is done, our reward is to go veggie shopping.
Really, veggie shopping is just what we say when we head out for our Sunday drive. We know sooner or later we’ll end up at our favourite farmgate. Sometimes we go directly there. Sometimes, it may take us hours to get there as we head off on one of our legendary Sunday drives.
Husband is away for a couple of weeks so I was flying solo for veggie shopping this week. Even when I take the direct route, it’s pretty hard not to stop and admire the scenery.
Farm gate produce Mornington Peninsula
There are a couple of stores we go to regularly for our farm gate produce. The beauty of living on the Mornington Peninsula is that we are truly spoiled for choice. Our favourite farm gate is Hawkes Vegetables and Farm Gate at Boneo.
Unquestionably, you’ll eat Hawkes’ fruit and vegetables and wonder how veggies can taste so good. Ask Husband. He used to hate vegetables but now, the opposite it true. A big part of this is because the vegetables from around here taste bloody amazing.
In the warmer months you can taste the veggies onsite in the form the most delicious hot chips you can imagine. Freshly cut potatoes, thrice cooked, sprinkled with salt and served up in a cone to be enjoyed in the garden are something else.
There’s a well-stocked pantry in the farm gate with local seasonal produce. And, plenty of plants to add to your own garden. Feel like smoothie from locally grown fruit? You can get that too. And a perfectly brewed coffee.
Above all of this is the warmth and friendliness of the Hawkes family and team. They care about every single one of their customers. Regulars like us might find some free herbs or an extra box of mandarins popped into our weekly shop and, something special slipped into our box at Christmas time. Probably the passers by get this too, that’s just the kind of people Hawkes are.
Not so fast food
Each week we never really know what we’re going to leave with. There’s always the staples of potatoes (oh, the amazing potatoes), carrots, onions, capsicums and tomatoes. I have a bit of a shopping list if there’s something specific I’ve got a hankering to cook, otherwise, I just go with what’s in season and in store.
As Husband is away, I’m enjoying extra serves of brussel sprouts. How can you not love a baked honey or maple glazed brussel sprout?
This shop should last the doggos and I around a week. There’s something very satisfying about buying our food this way. It truly is paddock to plate, it’s kind to the environment as there is little or no packaging and it’s good for my soul.
Storing carrots to keep them fresh
I love packing away all of the veg after the shop. The cooler climate here means often fruit and veg can stay on the counter-top. Isn’t there something so lovely about seeing fresh food on pretty plates? You’re far more likely to reach for fresh when they’re on display, just waiting to be eaten.
We always have lots of carrots at home as the dogs love them. They usually share a carrot a day as something crunchy to help clean their teeth and fill their bellies between breakfast and lunch.
I used to just throw the carrots in the fridge crisper and after a few days they turned limp. No longer! Our carrots are eaten long before they have the chance to go limp and with this simple method, your carrots will stay fresh for many weeks too.
Simply trim off any green tips (store them in the freezer to make a broth), pop the carrots in a container and fill with water. If your carrots have been in the fridge for longer than a week, refresh them by rinsing the container and adding fresh water. It’s that easy. Crunchy, fresh carrots and you’re saving money by not tossing limp carrots in the trash.
Not so fast food
We are spoiled for farm gate produce on the Mornington Peninsula. Where ever you live, you’ll be sure to find farm gates and farmers markets. Half of the fun is discovering a new favourite, or two. The other half is taking time to smell the roses and enjoying the view along the way.
Do you have a tip for storing veggies? Or a favourite farm gate or farmers market?
There’s another thing I love shopping for. Read about my not-so-secret addiction…