What Does $20 Worth of Produce Look Like?

23 Jul

I love produce markets. Fresh, crisp vegetables and ripe, juicy fruit make me happy. So does getting a good deal. If you’re shopping at a produce market rather than a big-chain grocery store, $20 of produce should look something like this:

$20 of Produce

My haul from Urban Farm Market.


Last weekend I stopped at one of my favourite markets in Richmond, Urban Farm Market, to stock up for the week. They have a large selection, a lot of local products, and I always get good bang for my buck (as you can see from the receipt)!

Produce Receipt

I have no idea what that $0.95 Mystery Fruit is. If it was an error (very possible) this may actually be more like $18 worth of produce.


I try to have a list when I go produce shopping because I tend to go overboard if I don’t have a plan. It all looks so good and meal ideas tumble around in my head as I scan the selection. Some things just call out to me: when herbs are fresh and berries are plentiful, they’re hard to walk away from.

A typical list is pretty basic:

  • Fruits: apples, bananas, berries, and whatever is in season
  • Veggies: cucumber, tomatoes, carrots and avocados



I’d like to introduce you to a new item in my produce repertoire: kale. Leafy greens are where it’s at, my friends! I’d heard good things about kale, but this astounding TEDTalk encouraged me to actually pick some up and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed adding it to my meals. Don’t be intimidated by its unwieldy curliness, just use it the same way that you would use spinach! It can be eaten raw, sautéed, boiled or baked and added to pastas, soups, and pies/quiches.


Now What?

After the euphoria of a good produce expedition wears off, my practical side usually kicks in and I wonder, “What was I thinking? How on earth am I going to finish all this before it wilts and rots?” To make the rest of the week easier, I wash and prepare as much as I can as soon as I get home. Then it’s just a matter of choosing some recipes!

I promise to post a recipe featuring kale very soon but this week the priority was using up the huge bundle of fresh local basil I picked up. The solution: pesto!

Making pesto is easy! Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Pick a pesto recipe. (This is tricky! There are so many different variations. I adapted one from the America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook that included ricotta because I had some on hand.)
  2. Borrow your sister-in-law’s super awesome food processor. Trust me on this one. (Thanks R!)
  3. Chop a few things up, measure some cheese, and toss it all into the food processor. Pulse until you reach the desired consistency.


Creamy Basil Pesto with Walnuts



Makes 1 1/2 to 2 cups


3 1/2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup packed spinach leaves
1 large shallot, minced
6 cloves garlic, toasted and minced
3/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 ounces)
1/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper


  1. Process the basil, spinach, shallot, and garlic in food processor, pulsing until you reach your desired consistency (chunky, smooth, it’s up to you!)
  2. Add both cheeses, walnuts, olive oil, and salt and pepper and pulse a few more times until combined.
  3. Spread some of that fresh basil goodness on a cracker and sample your handiwork!
  4. Store the rest in an airtight container for up to three days in the refrigerator or divide into portions and freeze for up to three months.
Pesto ingredients all assembled

Pesto ingredients all assembled

Ta da! Pesto.

It’s like magic!

Sampling is encouraged

Sampling is encouraged.



© 2013 C Chisholm Communications.
All rights reserved.

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