I have shopped at the Collingswood Farmers’ Market for well over a decade. I wait each year for opening day. Opening day is very soon! May 7.
Many of the farmers and vendors know me by name and all of them know me by sight..I’m the lady with the wagon. When I first started shopping at the market I would carry my purchases until I ran out of arm room and strength and then it was a quick trip to the car and back to shopping. As I’ve said before my trips to the market are my weekly trips to the store for my groceries. I buy meat, poultry, cheese, vegetables, fruits, and breads. Because I make many and big purchases I started using an old fashioned shopping basket on wheels. The kind my grandmother used to use. You know, about three feet tall, a handle to pull, two wheels. That was great except things on the bottom would get crushed.
Quite a few years ago now I stumbled upon the solution. Warehouse clubs in the area began selling a collapsible wagon. I’ll say that again. Collapsible. Wagon. This is a sturdy metal framed wagon with a canvas like liner. It collapses flat so it easily fits in the back of my car. When I arrive at the market I open it up and go shopping. When I’m finished shopping, I put my purchases in the car, put the strap in the middle of the wagon (thus making it flat) and put that in my car as well.
This year the market is starting an initiative to stop the use of plastic bags. Wonderful idea! I’ve used my own bags for years. Once I started using my own bags I noticed that the shopping and the putting away of my purchases became much easier.
I keep one bag elusively for baked goods. Nothing gets crushed and they are all in one place when I come home from the market. (I get to the market when it opens at 8AM so it’s important to know where my breakfast is!) I put various baked goods from different bakers in the same bag. DiBartolo’s rolls mingle pleasantly with Wild Flour’s zucchini bread slices. That bag goes right on the kitchen table when I come in and my husband knows there is something special for him in there.
When I get to a farmer’s table they know I have my own bag and they take it from me and fill it with my choices. They even put the heavy and wet things on the bottom for me. (I put a clean paper towel in the bottom of the bag to absorb water). The bags line up nicely in my wagon. And when I buy a watermelon or cantaloupe from Buzby’s or Fruitwood Farms I just place it in the bottom of the wagon I also have a nice square cold bag for my frozen Hillacres Pride meat purchase.
Finally I have a portable colander that my daughter gave me for my birthday. It looks like one of those hard plastic mesh beach bags you can get anywhere. In that I carry things like tomatoes. Very delicate produce.
When I get home from the market the bags come into the kitchen and the items in them are easily put away. The wagon stays flat in my car all market season and I use one bag to store all the folded bags…a bag bag. By 10AM my stash is stored and my car is ready for the next market day.