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Taking the 10X10 challenge only made sense

I discuss the reasons why taking the 10X10 challenge was a win/win for me.
$2.67 worth of squash

$2.67 worth of squash /Chris Freeman

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Wok-full of local veggies

Wok-full of local veggies /Chris Freeman

heirloom tomato salsa from Turtle Island ingredients

heirloom tomato salsa from Turtle Island ingredients /Chris Freeman

For me, taking the 10X10 Challenge was not a difficult thing for me to do. It actually became both a necessity and an opportunity. Let me explain, starting with the necessity.

As I am rocketing towards my twilight years, I have picked up something along the way that many people in my predicament have picked up: A beer gut! In fairness, I don’t really drink much but I love to eat. Sadly, you never hear about the “he loves food” gut. About three months ago, as part of my efforts to reduce my caloric intake, I really ramped up the amount of vegetables in my diet, especially squash. Two of my daily meals now contain massive amounts of squash, and I do mean massive.

When shopping at Meijer, it is unavoidable to notice that meat ranges from $2-$15 a pound. Squash, however, was never more than $1.49 per pound. It was only common sense that replacing meat with squash was going to save me a lot of money and improve my health. I was, however, eating a so much squash that even at $1.49 a pound I was starting to spend a lot of money again. That was until I started frequenting the Fulton Street Farmers Market.

For what I was paying $1.49 for at Meijer, I was getting five times as much at the farmers market for the same price, and I feel that the quality is better as well. I am now fulfilling the dual necessity of eating healthier food and reducing food costs significantly while simultaneously helping the local economy.

The opportunity comes from trekking to the farmers market to make the purchases.

 I was not only able to get my squash at an incredible price, but I was now being exposed to food that they just didn’t sell at the “big box” stores. Blue eggs, purple beans, locally produced honey and a unique variety of fresh garlic as well as a plethora of heirloom tomatoes and peppers with which to make my homemade salsa from. No more settling on the standard jalepeno and roma tomato salsa. This week’s offering was green zebra, black prince, and black krim tomatoes combined with cherry bomb peppers and music garlic. Plus, I was able to buy seconds on the tomatoes. Seconds are fine for salsa and, once again, cheaper. Crazy good flavor, and not something that I was going to find at a larger store.

Adding locally produced food to my shopping mix was not only easy to do, but has made my life more interesting in the process. I am broadening my horizons about what is really available in food options, I weigh less than I have in years, and the trips to the farmers market give me a chance to socialize with new and interesting people who have a lot of knowledge about food.

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