Mr. Soft Palms Arrives in Cleveland
Plain Dealer reporter Debbi Snook, who last week compared farmer’s market prices with grocery store prices (showing that the later offered lower prices on produce, if not the quality*), reviews the Cleveland episode of Bourdain’s No Reservations, airing Monday at 10 on the Travel Channel.  Needless to say, earnest Midwestern eccentricity triumphs over New York City snark.

Updates: this from cleveland’s weekly tabloid, examples of the illustrations. And this, this is the kind of thing that makes me hate the guy more. Just when I’m the one being snarky, I find something like this. I’m sorry. I don’t think I can win this battle:

Q&A from the Arizona Star:
Where else do you travel in upcoming episodes? “Tuscany; Hong Kong; We did a great Cleveland show, one of the best shows we’ve ever done. A New York show; Tahiti; Argentina; Sao Paolo.”

Any surprises? “Cleveland was a big surprise. Who knew it would be such a good time? The food was so good. It is never a surprise to eat well in China or Hong Kong. It just was a hell of a lot of fun.”

(*Food editor Joe Crea addresses backlash–many farmer advocates were furious, apparently.  But this is an important story.  Until local hand grown produce and meat are available to everyone, and not just to those who can pay boutique prices, America’s so-called food revolution will not be complete. Obviously, this is a difficult equation to figure out. I’d love to see more local food reporters do what Becks & Posh started; we might then get some meaningful perspective of how growers’ markets look throughout the country.)

More on Celeb Chef Phenomenon
Interesting and long article on celebrity chefs in last weeks Weekly Standard. [thanks big bad bob (sorry about the instant read!)]

Charlie Trotter’s 20th Anniversary
The Chicago restaurant celebrated it’s 20th anniversary last weekend with benefit dinner that raised $100,000 for Chicago’s Mercy House.  Twenty years, that’s a long time to be working at the four-star level.  Trotter brought in his old pals Norman Van Aken and Emeril Lagasse, along with others.  Say what you will about celebrity chefs but you can’t knock their capacity, not to mention energy, to use food and fame to raise money.

News for Grant Achatz Fans and Friends
I was able to have breakfast with Grant Achatz on Saturday and was delighted to see him looking strong and fit.  You’d scarcely know he was battling anything at all, let alone going through chemo to treat squamous carcinoma of the mouth.  He was at ease, confident and determined. As he always is.  And he ate one of Nookie’s enormous omelets.  Best news of all: doctors say treatment is exceeding expectations.


52 Wonderful responses to “”

  • Kal

    Ooh, I’m looking forward to reading the links — but first up, thanks so much for the update on Grant. His steadiness and perseverance don’t surprise me a bit, and it’s fantastic to know he’s doing well.

  • jaye joseph

    Great to hear about Chef Achatz. If his chemo is anything like mine, that omelet was probably a “snack” that day. Steroids during chemo make you want to eat paint off the walls. And .99 cent Totino’s pizzas.

  • Tana

    I am so happy to hear that your friend is doing well. I’m sure getting some Nookie helped.

    : D

  • Tags

    There’s some encouraging news on this link; 96 – 97% of squamous cell carcinomas are localized and don’t spread.

    And regarding the higher prices at farm markets – the cheapest oats are the ones that have been through the horse already.

  • Vinotas

    It would be nicer if farmers’ markets were cheaper and everyone could eat well. Sadly, it’s not the case (yet), though in the meantime I’ll continue to raid the Union Square Greenmarket and sigh for Paris’ markets…
    Still, I’d rather pay for the quality than deal with the crap at the Food Extortium.

  • Carri

    I think that the revelation that farmers markets are more expensive than grocery stores is based on a fairly narrow market study…in my town the only way to afford fresh food is to go to the farmers market, the same is true places I have vacationed such as Hawaii where without the traveling sunshine markets you could not afford to eat a fresh papaya. You just have to look off the beaten path.
    We have to thank the high-end chefs of the world for
    beginning the revolution of eating locally, however, the prices charged for the meals they serve and the amount of waste it creates makes the chasm between us and ‘them’ greater than ever…pretty sure those lovely and hard working people supplying these chefs can not possibly afford to eat at the restaurants where their food is served.
    …There is something wrong with this picture. Until we understand that we all just need to eat and we all deserve to eat well( AND you probably shouldn’t be buying fresh strawberries in Alaska in January)…I’m afraid there will always be chicken caesars on the menu…

  • fiat lux

    Not too long ago, I paid $3.00 for a bunch of asparagus at the local farmer’s market, then went to Safeway later that day and saw asparagus on sale for $1.50. As much as I want to support local farms and am well aware of the quality differential, paying that much of a premium was a little annoying.

  • David Garbe

    A principal advantage to farmer’s markets in the Minneapolis/St Paul area is diversity of produce. We have a very large Asian (Hmong and Vietnamese) community whose elders are accomplished farmers, and offer us wonderful vegetables we cannot buy at the local grocery chains. Additionally, these folks tend to price their wares on a “cost plus” basis and not on a “market will bear” basis, so the prices generally are 15-20% less than the inferior items in the stores. I’m left to wonder if the worldview of the seller influences local prices as much as anything else. We’re anything but exclusive here. The most expensive items at the local farmer’s markets are sold by middle-aged white folks like myself.

  • realitybites

    Plug: Ruhlman appears in next week’s No Reservations episode along with Anthony Bourdain. Ruhlman plays host and takes Tony to meet Harvey Pekar, visits The Sausage Shoppe, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame… and they even cook together. Bourdain cooking on camera… a rare thing indeed. I’m so excited to see this episode. I lived in Akron–30 minutes south of Cleveland–for most of my life.

    Mr. Ruhlman, I just bought two of your books, “The Soul of a Chef” and “The Making of a Chef.” I’m about thirty pages into TSOAC and am finding it fascinating.

  • kristin


    I haven’t been able to post because of a variety of things, but I still do read your blog. Glad to hear Grant is doing so well. That is absolutely wonderful news. Looking forward to seeing No Reservations next week. God to hear you made all us Ohioians proud!

  • Big Red

    My husband’s family lives in Huron, outside of Sandusky. When we first got married, and he told me this, I thought to myself, “Oh wonderful…Sandusky…Cleveland…there is a bunch of culture amoungst the corn.” Sarcasm Anyone? However, we stop in Cleveland every time we drive though and explore, and I can say we have been going out there 3-4 times a year and still have not discovered all the good things to eat and experience. Although look what I have to compare to? I live in Rochester NY, a small city on Lake Ontario that thinks it is a great culture town, and is about as fun as Tits on a Nun. But I digress…

    Nice to hear about Grant.

    Can’t wait to see No Res. Love to see the two of you play off eachother. Actually I would love to cook for you two one of these days.

    Hey how about a new reality show where local chefs cook for you and Tony and then you two rip them to shreds? Too Simon Cowell?

  • artnlit

    Happy to hear about Grant’s recovery.

    As for Bourdain, I truly look forward to the Cleveland NR episode. Watching Ruhlman and AB trade barbs and engage in seemingly weird adventures (plus actually cook together) is high on my list of fun things to do! Thanks, Michael, for posting the reviews. Must ask, however, about this quote: “Dumm, who also created illustrations for Bourdain’s blog…” Have I missed something – Bourdain’s blog?? I thought THIS was his place for release? Also, the reference of Bourdain to Mick Jagger…hmmm. Not unless Tony starts gyrating those hips a little more!

  • Scott

    The Cleveland market happens to be highly competitive for supermarkets — that may go some way in explaining why they tend to beat farmer’s markets in price.

    I go to the North Union market at Shaker Square every Saturday morning and do find myself wondering from time to time about the large premium on certain items. For example, the going price for eggs among the North Union farmers is now $3.50/dozen. Whole Foods in University Heights sells seemingly very similar cage free eggs for $2.29. But the farmers who have eggs almost always sell out within the first couple hours, so clearly I’m not the only one willing to pony up.

  • Claudia

    Glad to hear Grant is doing well – cancer at any age is a tragedy, but particularly in a person so relatively young, with such a great career ahead of him. Thanks for the update.

    Oh – and while the flooding in other areas of Ohio is horrendous, thank goodness Cleveland is still dry. Stay safe, Michael.

    PS: Mr. Softy Palms is reportedly in Bogota, Colombia today, according to eGullet.

  • Robert Faucette

    Glad to hear about Grant! Best wishes for him. And let him know if he ever wants to open another restaurant I will gladly come work for him.

    Also cant wait for the Ceveland No Reservations comeing up on monday. Thanks!

  • t-scape

    I always thought that the difference in prices between supermarket produce, for example, and farmers’ market prices lies in the means of production. Specifically, supermarket suppliers are larger operations who can afford to keep prices cheap, and am assuming cut certain corners. Whereas farmers coming to the farmers’ markets are dealing with a tighter budget, and making ends meet necessitates higher prices. Am I wrong? I guess that is why I have always taken the large difference in price for granted.

  • TomFreeland

    Here in Oxford, Mississippi, there are a couple of levels available in local produce, including at the Farmer’s Market. This is in a smallish college town. Stuff that has been long-time grown traditionally is available cheaper and at higher quality than the grocery store chains, including cheaper than Walmart. So if in high summer you want tomatoes, okra, squash, green beans, and any variety of pea, you can get vastly better quality vastly cheaper. There are “boutique” and/or hippie growers who sell at much higher prices, often at extraordinary quality and selection (occasionally not). The two groups are having a large influence on each other– the traditional growers have discovered that there’s a real market for early and late season things like sugar snaps, carrots, etc. that the expensive growers sell, and have moved into that market. Local restaurants will list that they are getting their tomatoes from the best of the traditional growers, who can get them what they want in sufficient quantity.

    The big point I’m making, though, is that the farmer’s market vegetables are many of them a more affordable solution already. A real farmer at the market has a couple of huge advantages– they aren’t fighting seasonality head-to-head (they are all wanting to push it with the first and last tomatoes, etc.) and don’t have the transportation costs. They have to be be a certain size to make it work, and some can and do.

  • wpig

    I work with small farmers, so I have some insight into this. A few observations:

    If you want to save, show up before the market closes, and buy the best looking produce cheaply. Otherwise they’ll be giving it away to charity, feeding it to pigs, etc. By the time they’ve hauled all that stuff to the market, cash – even less cash – is better than no cash.

    Most farmers’ markets have a board (composed of farmers) that strives to minimize competition and keep prices down. If you want to sell eggs at the market, you could be turned away if there are already guys there, and they aren’t selling out. If you want to save money, ask farmers if they produce more stuff that they can’t sell at that market – and make other arrangements to get it.

    Small farmers are terribly inefficient compared to factory farms – and that includes fuel. Small farmers burn up an insane amount of gas to produce and market a miniscule amount of of veggies.

    Some small farmers (e.g. Hmong) slash prices to the bone. But they don’t typically chill or soak the veggies, to keep them in top quality – so show up early and buy them then. Other farmers pick the stuff, then go from market to market, until they unload the stuff – so their produce is often not worth buying.Just find the farmer who has top-quality stuff, and ask him which farmer is hauling his wilted stuff from market to market.

    Things like eggs vary tremendously (even from one farm) depending on what the hens are eating. You should plan to do some experimentation and see who has what you want at the price you want. If a farmer’s eggs aren’t selling well, he’ll often cut the feed bill (and quality) – so watch out. Sometimes he’s using screenings from a mill, so the feed varies whether he wants it to or not.

    If you want the best birds, ask the farmers who raise eggs to sell you some old hens – (18+ months). Then make Coq a vin or something similar. You can’t generally get birds of that quality anywhere.

    If you see some odd vegetable (e.g. Asian spinach), you should probably try it – the odd stuff can be seriously discounted, relative to the “salad mix” and spinach.

    Finding good values at the farmers’ market in America requires being smart and working hard. The market is very inefficient compared to other places, where the farmers’ market is a major market. E.g. someone with not so great stuff can sell it at a higher price, and many won’t notice. Or you’ll have people selling essentially the same stuff as someone else, but at a much lower price.

  • wpig

    I just noticed a mistake in my comment:

    “Most farmers’ markets have a board (composed of farmers) that strives to minimize competition and keep prices down.”

    That should be “keep prices UP,” of course. The farmers’ market typically operates as a cartel.

  • Frances

    I think the Farmer’s Market in Williamsburg is artificially high because it’s a tourist town and I’ll bet the fees for the stalls are quite steep. Over here in Gloucester, Wareneck Produce and The Farmer’s Daughter sell local and Viriginia produce and products that are better and less expensive than what can be had in the supermarkets. So we have a good thing here.

    This is the first year in a long time that we couldn’t have a vegitable garden of our own because it is under a pile of trees blown down by Tropical Storm Ernesto. Funny thing is that our neighbors all had bumper crops of tomaotoes, cukes and peppers, and we’ve been inundated. Thank goodness no one seems to have grown eggplant. Not that there’s anything wrong with eggplant…

    I’m so glad to hear that your friend is doing well.

  • Sorcha

    Frances – I’m surprised Williamsburg doesn’t charge *admission* to their farmers’ market, if it’s anywhere near the Colonial section. We used to go there on field trips when I was a kid because it was all free. Not so much now.

  • Brad Kilgore

    Hey Michael. I have just recently discovered your blog and I was so excited when I found it. I own and have read both of you “of the chef” books and also the charcuterie. I can hear your “voice” in your writings here in your blog like it is in the books.
    I am so happy to hear that Grant is doing well. He is the only chef in the world that I want to work for right now.
    One comment on your Charlie Trotters 20th Anniversary, you wrote that it is immpressive that he can keep up four stars for so long but to correct you he is a five star chef and has been for a long time. keep up the blogs and I am gonna leave to day dream about a pork belly ceasar.

  • Bill Brigden


    Good to hear you in good spirits! Wishing you continued good wishes in your courageous battle.


  • MichaelG

    I live in Sacramento where we have excellent produce available in the supermarkets. We also have superlative farmers’ markets with growers of all ethnicities. Here the markets are competitive with the stores in price and beat the stores in quality. When I go down to the farmers’ market on an early Sunday AM, I am confronted with everything from mussels to, well, you name it. Fish, meat and the best produce one could hope to see. Growers are White, Hispanic, Black and Asian. The large local Asian population and the large number of growers (I gave up counting at 25 sellers of greens alone) guarantee good pricing. One example: For years I was unhappy at the quality of ginger on supermarket shelves. The other day I bought a very large chunk of the freshest ginger I have ever seen for Nineteen Cents. Just breathing while one walks through this incredible bounty is a heady experience. This market covers an area of roughly two and one half square blocks. It truly rivals markets I have seen in Europe and Mexico and even reminds me of my favorite, the Binh Thanh market in Saigon.

  • Ari Espinoza

    Mr. Ruhlman,

    The name of the newspaper is the Arizona Daily Star, not the Arizona Star.

  • Victor

    I’d love for there to be a study to see how many customers the said area’s farmers markets actually GAIN vs. lose because of the article’s reporting that they might be costlier than the supermarkets. There’s always a market segment that wants to pay more for things, regardless of quality, but they’ll only do so if others see them doing it.

    As previous posters have noted, the magnifying glass applied must be nearly as local as the produce being discussed in order to find out just where the bargains and quality are.

    That farmers’ advocates appear to be flexing their muscles against any bad press, as any good lobbying group or political action committee ought to, seems weird in the case of a local news article. I mean, national action/response for local food? Maybe they need a 2-house system like Congress. Last time I checked, Mother Nature had the trump card over politics and religion (although religion and Momma Nats have allegedly had a few dalliances in the past, according to some)when it came to across-the-board policies or edicts. As other posters have said, their local/farmers markets are better and cheaper than the chains.

    It makes me wonder what strange bedfellows some restaurants, locavores, organic, free-range, cruelty-free, and Whole Foods-type camps might actually be and who truly benefits from the as-yet partially-discovered money trail that these fads/trends/movements ultimately serve. I think it should be food for food’s sake, and that external influences on a free market (or as free as it can get)cause it to ultimately fail the majority of people it serves.

    I’d like to introduce a new food fad: “histori-local” food, i.e., food that is historically indigenous to an area and that wasn’t brought over from somewhere else (including livestock or crops). Where’d the timeline cut-off for that be?

    And while we’re on cut-offs, what’s the distance limit for food to stop being local? It’s tied to freshness, but that two-hour trip to the market takes on a whole new meaning after switching from horse-buggy to truck.

  • JoP in NE

    Lots of good wishes to Grant. Nice that you were able to arrange a visit with him, Michael.

    I’m looking forward to seeing the NR Cleveland episode. Thanks for reminding us about it.


  • Clarkehead

    I’m in love with Sam’s photography on her blog. That would make a foodie out of anyone. What a talent.

    Regarding Farmer’s Market VS grocery stores, I live in California and the food we buy at our local Farmer’s Market is picked fresh the day before, is driven from the Bakersfield area (some 250 miles to the Market location), and is usually sold at the same prices as our grocery stores – in most cases cheaper.

    Considering the freshness of the items we’re buying, how incredibly good the things we buy there taste, and the fact that the people selling these items are actually grateful that I’m buying them (compared to the rude check stand clerks who couldn’t care less) – I’d say there’s no comparison. It’s Farmers Market, hands down.

  • Hank

    I’m with Clarkehead and MichaelG. I too live in the Sacramento area and visit the Citrus Heights market on an almost weekly basis. The quality and selection are far better than even the chi-chi supermarkets, and the prices are not *that* much different from the mega-mart. Besides, if you won’t pay an extra $.50 a pound for asparagud from the Delta vs. asparagus from Mexico or Chile, then a pox on you. There is as much to be said for terroir in veggies as there is in wine.

  • Connor

    From strictly a cost standpoint, I find the produce to be comparable at farmers markets and national chain supermarkets in the DC area. Some weeks, maybe the farmers market is more expensive because you hit a club card sale at Safeway on the produce you’re buying, but the next week it’s the reverse scenario. It’s all about knowing where to shop for what. If you want fresh herbs and bok choy, for example, then the Asian markets are probably the most economical.

    From a quality standpoint, farmers markets are nearly impossible to beat in this area. While the difference between a green bell pepper at Safeway versus the farmers market may be small, it’s huge when you’re talking sweet corn, tomatoes, peaches, etc.

  • FoodPuta

    Just simple economics. With the upswing in the Foodie craze, comes folks that are willing to pay 28% more for the best (or even what they consider to be the best)

    You all have to blame the FN, Bourdain, Ruhlman, Rick Bayless…..

    Just don’t you ever blame Julia!!

  • ruhlman

    just returned from my growers market, north union market at shaker square in cleveland. an excelent market, great growers, and i encourage everyone to shop there.

    I bought:
    –$7.50 18 ears corn (six of which I will eat right as soon as i finish this, saturday august ritual breakfast)
    –5.00 quart fingerlings
    –3.00 # of rhubarb
    –2.50 pickling cukes
    –5.00 garlic (THE best, worth every cent, hard stem and nothing like the grocery store mush).
    –1.50 cabbage
    –4.50 peaches

    Total $31.50.

    too much? too little? just right?

    time to shuck the corn.

  • Big Red

    Some of what you bought was good, some not so good. Great price for cabbage. Bad for Peaches since they are in season. Good price for Cukes, and Rubarb, especially if it locally grown, and I would say way over for the corn. (I can get a dozen for 2.00) On average, it will be cheaper to buy larger quantities at farmers markets as they are better quality, and you usually get a better price. This is not the way anymore. But If you even out what you bought, I would say that it evened out. Now if you bought exclusively peaches and corn, I would say you got robbed. But if you are a firm believer in the “old” way of doing things, as farm grown, down home cooking in the country and all that happy horse shit, no pun intended, then it is worth the money to support the culture. Not too bad Ruhlman.

  • sam

    Hey Michael – thank you for linking to me in your review of this subject (which I find fascinating). All of the reports so far (including mine) haven’t been particularly scientific, I presume. I wish someone would do proper research as you suggest. If I had time or money I would do it myself but unfortunately I have a full time non-food-related job so it was the most I could do as a hobbyist. At least people started to think about it differently.

    One thing I would like to add is that shopping in a farmers’ market forces you to commit to a certain amount of home cooking. I have a well stocked pantry with flours, grains and spices, oils and vinegars so I only visit a supermarket, either Wholefoods or Rainbow (a co-op in San Francisco) a few times a year when I need to stock up on those kinds of things.

    Shopping mostly at the Farmers’ Market, neither are you tempted by processed foods, the inclusion of which in the trolley presumably adds to most peoples’ bills at a regular supermarket and is not calculated as an added expense to watch out for in these surveys. Tortilla chips, cookies and sodas – that kind of thing – always sold in HUGE bags and bottles and packets. If you do all your shopping at the market you don’t even have to worry about spending money on those kinds of things – because you actually can’t.

  • Art

    Interesting article in the Weekly Standard. I advise recent Hospitality/Culinary Graduates to disavow the old-fashioned notion of slaving away for some bent Euro-Trash Chef for starvation wages when they enter the work-world, myself.

    Much wiser to take a Management Trainee Job with the largest most profitable Chain Restaurant they can find. That would include McDonalds. Learn about BU$INE$$ and leadership while getting paid and perked well.

    There are plenty of opportunities to keep enhancing your cooking skills on your own time without having to endure the boozy tantrums and garlic breath of a Euro-Trash slave-driver.

    Turn 28 and have a strong desire to open a fine-dancing restaurant? Who will get financing? The kid who rose up the ranks to Regional Manager, has hired-trained-fired employees, and understands the restaurant BU$INE$$? Or the dork who’s spent 6 years getting screamed at by Chef Pierre LePuke?

  • bertabetti

    In reading through the comments on farmer’s markets and details about the NR show in cleveland, Im surprised there is no mention of the westside market in cleveland. I grew up in cleveland and my parents still live there and shop at the westside market. I’ve gone a few times (I love markets and its the first thing I visit when traveling abroad) and its great. The fish market is particularly good, although the selection is not huge, but it’s fresh and you can get a whole fish-which in cleveland is unusual. Its a very old market indoor, like ones Ive seen in europe and that dont exist much in the US anymore.
    There’s also a great greek place nearby with the best greek/turkish coffee Ive ever had.

  • MArc

    Great to hear about Grant. Can I still brasg that he cooked for me when I used to eat at his family’s place in St Clair MI?

    As far as shopping at Farmer’s Market’s, for those of us iin the Upper Midewest, this is the easiest time of the year. The good stuff is everywhere. You can smell everything on the table and may even have a hard time figuring out what to get.

    Now I just need to find how to get my butcher to carry Niman pork…

  • bonnibella

    “In reading through the comments on farmer’s markets and details about the NR show in cleveland, Im surprised there is no mention of the westside market in cleveland.”

    I wondered the same thing. What’s the deal, Ruhlman?

  • Nic Heckett

    I do have a beef with Farmer’s markets that have much of their produce purchased from a wholesaler rather than grown by the vendor. I think at least 50% of farmer’s Markets in the DC suburbs are like this. In Ireland there is a great Wexford tradition of selling “Organic Homegrown Strawberries” off the farm (Wexford is famous for its strawberries), the berries in fact come from the supermarket and are anything but organic. Much cheaper to buy commercial French or Spanish berries, and sure it is only the Dublin people who can afford them anyway, sure what harm etc. Farmer’s Market produce should be more expensive than store bought, when you take into consideration the extra work involved. The FM is the recourse for the small farmer priced out of the agro-market by the large producers. They can’t sell to the industry, as the commodity price does not cover the costs. They are forced to sell at the FM and that is not even a given. I can’t sell Woodlands Pork in Charleston WV because there is a meat store there, (selling commercial pork from KY) and they don’t want to upset the pork barrel. Do any of you know any farmers getting rich? The prices at the FM are scrape by, and the prices the industry pay are loss-leaders.

  • Nadine

    About farmer’s markets. Just about the only really interesting thing about living in the central valley of California is the availability of fresh produce. The stuff grown here doesn’t seem to make it to the markets here. The farmer’s markets (which are mostly organic, go figure) have better quality stuff and tend to be less expensive. They also have artisinal (sp) cheeses and such. The ability to buy a crate of just picked peaches you can actually EAT is a glorious thing.

  • Nadine

    About farmer’s markets. Just about the only really interesting thing about living in the central valley of California is the availability of fresh produce. The stuff grown here doesn’t seem to make it to the markets here. The farmer’s markets (which are mostly organic, go figure) have better quality stuff and tend to be less expensive. They also have artisinal (sp) cheeses and such. The ability to buy a crate of just picked peaches you can actually EAT is a glorious thing.

  • livetotravel

    Thanks for update on Grant – so far so good.

    Hope Tony B gives props to Cincinnati for Skyline Chili – a very weird thing to comment on in Cleveland where it has no connection whatsoever.

  • Tara

    I live in the Dallas area, and prefer to get my produce from our local farmers markets (there are quite a few). It’s consistently higher quality AND less expensive than my local chain grocer. My Saturday haul:
    3# red potatoes
    1.5# purple hull peas
    2 ears of corn
    2# green beans
    3# peaches
    .5# banana peppers
    1# plums
    1# broccoli
    3 bunches green onions
    3# mixed onions
    1pt. blueberries
    about 2# red grapes (not local)
    1 tomato, thrown in for good measure.
    Total cost: $35.00
    There’s NO WAY my local store can even come close to that. And they’re surly. And they have NO idea what I’m buying (which is the saddest thing ever to me). I actually have to tell them what everything on the conveyor belt IS. I’m trying to buy local whenever possible. I want to know where my food comes from!

  • nelle

    played hooky for a little bit this morning and went to the union square greenmarket. $20 got me corn, great greens, peaches and tomatoes, and some new asian greens and herbs to experiment with over the weekend. plus i got a chance to have nice conversations with the growers. best part – was in a great mood when i got to work. my employees definitely thought it was money well spent! 🙂

    Thanks for the update on Grant. My thoughts are with him for a quick – and thorough – recovery.

  • lien

    Hi Michael,

    I am glad to hear that Grant Achatz’s treatment is going well. I wish him the best.

    I go to the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market and here are some prices:

    – Corn : .50 – .75/ear
    – Greens like kale or chard : 1.99 or 3 for 5
    – Herb : 1.00
    – Potatoes (fingeling, Peruvian blue …): 2.00/lb
    – Carrot: 2.00/bunch
    – Broccoli: 2.00/lb
    – Cabbage: 1.50
    – Strawberries: 2-4.00 a pint
    – Squash/Zuchini: 1.50/lb
    – Tomatoes: 2.00/lbs, 3.00/lbs for heirloom

    I read ‘The Soul of a Chef’ and i couldn’t put it down. I stay up to 1:30am two days in a row! I look forward to having dinner at The French Laundry soon. I am almost done with ‘The Making of a Chef’, the ‘Reach of a Chef’ is waiting on the table. I’ve also gone over ‘The French Laundry Cookbook’ and ‘Bouchon’. Thanks for some very fascinating writings.

    Best regards,