WanderFood Wednesday: Farmers Market Tips

by Samantha Scott
( July 15th, 2014 )

 

Blueberries at the Farmers Market

Farmers Markets are one of my favorite thing about summer and living in California it’s a sin not to go as much as possible to take advantage of and support the many farms in the area. Here are a few tips on how to make your Farmers Market visit live up to its fullest potential!

Fruit at the Farmers Market

1) Always have cash, preferably small bills. This might seem like a no brainer, but I can’t tell you how many times I get all the way to the market only to realize I don’t have cash on me. What I like to do is always keep a small amount in my bag (see #2), so I never have to worry about remembering.

Squash at the Farmers Market

2) Always bring your own bag. Not only does this lesson the burden on you having to carry multiple small bags of fruits and veggies, it gives you the eco-friendly option of not using plastic bags!

Grapes at the Farmers Market

3) Ask questions! I’ve never been good at approaching strangers being of a more shy disposition, but at a Farmers Market you’ll often see things you don’t recognize. They’ll be able to tell you how to cook it, where it comes from, what sort of factor the weather has had that year…anything you can think of to ask, they will be able to answer. So don’t be shy! In my experience, farmers are some of the friendliest people I’ve had the pleasure to talk to.

Eggplant at the Farmers Market

4) Either only buy what you need or buy in bulk. I only have myself to cook for, so it’s very easy to just buy 1 or 2 of each item (and very inexpensive!). But if you have more mouths to feed it is still vastly less expensive than the grocery store and healthier to buy in bulk. This is also a useful tip because local Farmers Markets are typically not open everyday.

5) Sample! It was one taste that prompted me to buy two beautiful sweet white peaches, and another that swayed me away from some nectarines too ripe for my taste. Anytime you have the option, be sure to take advantage of a free sample. And don’t feel obligated to buy if you do. I always struggle with this because it feels like it should be common courtesy to purchase. But ultimately you need to be happy with what you buy and this way you can sample different stalls and maybe find a regular stop!

Plums at the Farmers Market

Sampling also gives you an inside look at otherwise nondescript fruit. Would you have ever thought the grayish-brown plums pictured above have that deep, delicious blood red inside?

Do you have a favorite Farmers Market in your area?

Eat Well, Travel Well ~ Samantha

 

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WanderFood Wednesday: What Makes American Western Cuisine?

by Samantha Scott
( July 8th, 2014 )

Revealing the American West Through Food


WanderFood in Montana

The United States can’t lay claim to too many truly original culinary traditions (arguably that fact alone makes us original) but the cuisine of the American West is an exception. Born out of necessity, it is the exact mirror of the lifestyle of its creators. Raw, no frills, designed for sustenance, warmth and energy it truly represents the culture of the American West.

Still very much alive in the region that bears its name and beyond, American Western Cuisine has come a long way since it’s inception, with a few frills added along the way, but not much. Attending a true blue rodeo while in Montana was a stark reminder of the harsh environment and history that gave us campfire cookouts and hotcakes. Watching cowboys rope calfs, bull ride and herd cows was like going back in time.

WanderFood at the Livingston Rodeo

One of the most memorable meals I had in Montana was at the Livingston Rib and Chop House. I have in the past been disappointed by food from regions that are well known for specific things. For example, the salmon I’ve tasted in Alaska was actually not as good as the Alaskan salmon from the fish market in my neighborhood grocery store.

Montana Rib and Chop House

So I was cautiously optimistic to order a steak at the chop house. But boy am I glad I did! Some of the best ribeye I think I’ve ever had, again, no frills, the meat didn’t need any. It was fresh, delicious, perfectly cooked and spoke for itself. If you ever go, get the garlic mashed potatoes as a side—they come in a small bowl, smooth and deliciously perfectly garlicky!

I will admit, I love buying souvenirs when I travel. One of my favorite finds in Montana was a cookbook by one of my favorite food bloggers, Ree Drummond of The Pioneer Woman. Her book “Recipes From an Accidental Country Girl” really celebrates the landscape and environment that makes American Western cuisine special, and I can’t wait to try some recipes!

YeeHaw WanderFoodies!

Eat Well, Travel Well ~ Samantha

 

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Product Review: Royal Robbins Discovery Pant

by Samantha Scott
( July 6th, 2014 )

I’m always on the lookout for comfortable, non-jeans, non-pajamas attire for travel. I look for comfort first and if there’s some style involved, well that’s a bonus. The Royal Robbins Discovery Pant is comfortable and looks nice on! I was actually surprised because the pictures on the website manage to make them look rather frumpy and shapeless. So it was a pleasant surprise to have them actually be stylish as well as functional.

Royal Robbins Discovery PantThe pair I tried were a tad too small, but still super comfortable. They have very little stretch to them, and they breath well. I actually prefer pants with no stretch because if they fit perfectly and you wear them constantly, sooner rather than later they will stretch out! These will continue to fit like a glove for years.

Just make sure you buy larger if you’re unsure. I’m in-between sizes at the moment and elected optimistically to go smaller (ladies, you know what I’m talking about) and should have stuck with a larger size.

They don’t wrinkle so are perfect for travel. Getting them in black was a conscious choice. I think black makes most clothes like this that are intended for more outdoorsy activity wearable for several types of outings or events. These would be perfectly acceptable paired with a nice top for a dinner out or for a full day of walking around doing tourist things.

PROS

  • Sleek, fitted and no stretch means they will maintain their shape and continue to fit nicely for years.

  • Wrinkle resistant and easily rolled or folded to be small and compact.

  • Comfortable, non-itchy material, and “invisible” seams that don’t dig into your skin or rub after wearing them for a while—great for hiking and walking long distances!

CONS

  • The front pocket. The smaller pocket on the right hip fits so tightly against the body that it’s rendered fairly useless. It won’t fit a phone, and because of the fit it’s difficult to use effectively for coins or even a stick of lip balm. I think the only thing I’d use it for would be bills, or something else that is small and lays flat.

THE VERDICT

  • Comfortable, perfect for travel, and adaptable. Worth the price!

Discovery Pant Review, Hiking in Montana

Eat Well, Travel Well ~ Samantha

*The product reviewed in this post was provided free of charge, but all reviews and opinions are entirely my own.

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