No Weekends Missed at the Market

Another farmer’s market trip on the weekend!

Kale, apples, rainbow carrots, raspberry jam, garlic, 1/2 lb. Bacon (buying less as I dont eat it and the kids themselves not been wanting any lately), micro greens, bean sprouts and corn shoots. The corn shoots are delicious!! Tgey have a sweet taste to them! The containers can be brought back for reuse and I can bring my own container which the lady will fill up at home and bring back to me the following week! I’m so happy with the options! I also bought some wheat grass. It is great for smoothies and great for cats to aid digestion and cope with hairballs. Sparta likes to eat our Christmas decorations and has hairballs now and then, but also gets sick once in a whike. I am hoping the wheat grass will help sooth her.

Since I started going to the farmer’s market well over a year ago, I have not missed one weekend! Dedication to support local, eat local and strive to zero waste!

Farmer’s Market Trip and a Little More

This weekends haul from Downtown Summerside.

    • Apples from Brady’s Farm. So good and juicy! I bring my own bag and refuse theirs. Although, the paper bag provided is welcomed to be returned for reuse!
    • Broccoli and carrots from Crystal Green Farms were bagged, but I asked for them unpacked and the farmer will reuse the bags. Actually, all veggies bagged can be unpacked or you could call/message them before market day to arrange the items packed in a paper bag for pick up.
    • BBQ sauce from High on the Hog. I have been wanting to make my own and have not yet, so here I am supporting local!
    • Eggs.
    • Micro greens from Our Old Island Market Farm has containers of micro greens which can be returned and/or I can give my own container to be filled for the following week! This is much their norm to cut waste and reuse.
    • Vinegar Hill Bakery will bring goods in paper bags instead of plastic bags if you ask for your order the day before the market!
    • One Stop Healing makes lotions for many uses and more. You can bring her a container which she can fill from the workshop and bring it back to the market the following weekend with the product you chose.
    • Turnip.

Coconut culture in the glass jar for making coconut yogurt. One step closer! From the health food store on Water street.

  • South Shore Soaps bar soap I bought from the Three Oaks Craft Fair.
  • A couple puzzles for Thomas and Chris to enjoy as well from LIL’ Buddy Puzzelz at the fair too.
  • 3 Pj sets to split up with the girls at home from Frenchy’s. Was looking for pj’s for Jack, no luck.

Great weekend supporting local!

Grocery Trip This Week

Now and then I like to share our shopping products. This time around, I did buy multiples of items as they were on sale, such as the flour, we go through quite a bit. The first picture is our most wasteful trip, regular grocery store. Not everybody in this house has cut back all plastic waste packaging. Together we are working on it, I can not control everything. Just like we as individuals are on a slightly different path on the zero waste journey, so are our family members. I got to give respect and patience to those, as they do great in other areas of the zero waste practice.

Sobey’s trip. I started to purchase Nutella again, unhappily.  But I found it available in glass jars. We reuse the jars for drinking glasses or for starting new plants from our Christmas Cactus. Still looking for the right recipe!
Flour was on sale, grabbed a couple bags.
The Summerside Butcher Shop. Everything wrapped in paper as requested.
Superstore trip. Dishwasher detergent in box. Sandwich meat in my own container and some casseroles in my own containers to take to a family potluck.
Bulk Barn trip. Lots of goodies in the pic. I did pick up some peanut free chocolates for Halloween, wrapped in foil; better than wrapped in plastic (no to new/recycled plastics).
The Summerside Farmer’s Market trip. Barnsoap and lip balm in a tin can from The Farmer’s Wife. Apples and carrots. Bacon and hot dogs. Eggs and an Aloe Vera Plant! Also stopped at Staples for white paper, wrapped in paper.

Latly I have been thinking about how Bulk Barn recieves their products. For example, cornstarch. I can buy it in compostable packaging at the grocery store. Does Bulk Barn get it in paper bags or plastic bags? There are some unknown factors that I want to get to the bottom of. I realize that even though I can get cornstarch in a box at the grocery store, the pallet of that item is probably wrapped up in plastic anyways. Food for thought!

 

Zero Waste Night Market Event

Yesterday me and Chris went to our first zero waste markets, which was held in Charlottetown at The Riverview Country Market and Cafe. Hosted by the Market, Urban Daisy and Forest Child Natural Beauty. Little did I know, it was an outside event and we were not dressed for the outdoors, oops! Next time, pack a coat just in case! Chris’ mom came down to our place to watch the kids with help from our niece as well. That’s right, we got away child free! Thank you Jean and Bailey! Xx

Sad to say, I did not take any pictures of the market, too busy going from vendor to vendor and holding our mugs of hot apple cider and hot chocolate. Yup, I packed mugs so we did not need a disposable, even if it was a paper cup. But I did take pictures of our products when we got home. It was so nice to finally put faces to names I knew from other online groups and companies. Some of the vendors put in a lot of work into what they make and truly recycling products into new fashions. I met up with the owners of Unpacked, which will be opening in Charlottetown next month, the Island’s first zero waste store.

First off was my new bamboo toothbrush. The Bristles are made of castor bean oil and the whole toothbrush is compostable. I heard of some people using the stick as a fire started once the brush has come to the end of its life, which I am told it should last as long a regular toothbrush before it needs replacing. Moonsnail Soapworks is where I got the toothbrush, $7.50. I also bought toothpaste tabs/bites which are fluoride free, but also plastic free. LUXE Beauty Bar sells it by the ounce, which in turn is about $6.00 for a couple weeks. May be pricey, but compared to other savings made in the long run, it makes up. Also, like I said, plastic free. I tried these out when I got home, and I was surprised with the toothbrush. Works great, does a great job cleaning and the size is perfect. Also, the bristles are so soft. The toothpaste bites, will take some time getting used to, but I’m down with that!

Chris bought a safety razor!!! He has been looking for quite some time and never seen one for sale until now! It was a pricey purchase, but in the long run, no more buying disposables. I’d say it will pay for itself within a year. (Sorry, also can not remember the vendor’s name, I try to find out)

This vendor, Nellie and Gabe really astonished me. Everything she sold was handcrafted by her and mostly came from products she recycled into her own new product. This bracelet is made from hemp, and the beads are reused from her thrift shopping trips. Can not get much more zero waste there, two thumbs up!

Chris convinced me to buy this sea sponge from Freckles and Porcelain. I always used to use the plastic bath sponges, but mine become unusable a while ago. Since then I just wast with my hands or a facecloth, but I found I could not scrub or reach areas very well. I thought someday I would find a loofa sponge, but I have not seen any for sale as of yet. So, sea sponge it was. I used it today and it works well and is so soft!

Great event, looking forward to more in the following months. I encourage you all to go to events in your area and support your local shops, they are counting on you.

School Lunches With Reusable Bags

I bought some lovely snack bags at The Summerside Farmer’s Market! They are made with natural material and are washable. The inside is an air tight and water proof fabric. They are very sturdy and oh so cute! Inspire Essential Oil Heatable Bags is the business who makes and sells them.

Since packing plastic free snacks for the kids lunches at school last year, the lunch cans were crammed with containers. Some days it was hard to pack everything in and then having all these containers to wash for the next day. I ended up having just enough containers to stretch for 3 kids over two days. But still, so many to wash and dry, and the clutter it created was frustrating.

Today’s lunch cans were packed with much more ease, and they felt lighter too.the kids liked the bags the first two days of school and they love the patterns. I must say, it seemed faster to pack the snacks too! No having to neatly pack pretzels so I can fill the container for example. Now, just toss in a handful, zip up and done! I’m very impressed! Also, with the liner inside being water proof, I can use these bags to pack wet foods like carrot sticks. Though, I will continue to use containers for meats and soft fruits. Convenient for the kids to eat from a dish sometimes and I don’t want soft fruits to get squished.

3 lunches packed, and still room to put things on top.
Alaina. Pretzels, local green beans, homemade granola bar, local strawberries and black forest ham. She only takes juice on Wednesdays. That comes from a can which half fills a reusable container. Reusable water bottle is packed in her school bag.
Daniel. Pretzels, crackers, local carrot sticks, local apple and a free range boiled egg. Some juice from a can, packed in a reusable bottle 3 times a week. Also a reusable water bottle packed in his school bag.
Julia. Pretzels, crackers, local peas, local strawberries and Montreal smoked sandwich meat. Juice from a can packed in a reusable bottle. So far she wants juice everyday. Working on “water is best”. Reusable water bottle packed in her school bag too.

The snacks vary from day to day as well as their taste buds! The only snack packed that comes from a plastic source is basically just the crackers. Everything else comes from Bulk Barn using my own containers or are whole foods bought plastic free. Soon I am going to make a new batch of yogurt and I am going to trial using small mason jars to pour the batch into, so I can pack those to send to school.

I highly recommend these snack bags! If you are handy with the sewing machine, make some!! Make it yourself and/or support local before buying from away, including big box stores.

It may be expensive up front, but you will save in the long run! Use what you have, invest a little at a time and you will be set! Supporting local helps local families near you. Local cuts down the carbon footprint for travelling as well as packaging.

When packing snacks try to stick to whole foods, they need less packaging from the stores! Homemade is best too, you know what goes into the food and they do not need to be individually wrapped.

Some examples:

For more ideas, check out my recipe page.

Summerside Farmer’s Market

I love going the The Summerside Farmer’s Market! I have been going every Saturday for over a year now, supporting local businesses. I try to spread out and reach as many vendors as I can. There are so many options of goods and the people are so friendly.

This past weekend I brought home a great haul of goods. When I go shopping I buy plastic free options or try my best. I bring my own produce bags and containers. Our family has been going plastic free as much as possible for over a year. You can read all about it on my website, Rachel.Willcock.ca. You can also follow me on Facebook at Managing Our Waste at Home.

I wish there was more support for the vendors to offer plastic free options. Some options off the top of my head:

  • Sell in paper bags or paper containers (I for one won’t mind the price going up a tad to stop single use plastics!)
  • customers bring their own bag/containers
  • vendors could sell their goods from a large bin using tongs to select the amount purchased. Have a scale available to weigh the products.
  • Have a bring back a reusable container/bag program

In this picture is a lovely selection of the goods I picked up for my family to enjoy.

  • I got some Vesta Bella and August apples from Brady’s Farm using my own produce cloth bags. Brady has paper bags he sells his apples in and he does want them returned when possible. Reuse!!
  • There are strawberries and blue berries from East Isle Farms. The wooden crates are compostable on PEI and the paper containers are recyclable like egg cartons.
  • Some lovely Peas from J&L Farms, using my own white cloth produce bag.
  • Clohossey Farms was selling brocolli and cauliflower package free, score!
  • The best bacon I have ever had is from Pleasant Pork. Sometimes we get back bacon, kolbalssa, salami and pepperoni. Ham is on my list this coming weekend! They also sell free range eggs. The eggs are the best ones I have ever seen too! Nothing like free range!
  • I also bought some lovely snack bags from Inspire Essential Heatable Bags. They are great for back to school! Natural fabric with a water proof fabric inside, keeping the snacks fresh all day. They are also washable in the washing machine. Less containers for me to wash after school!
  • I buy our cleaning needs from The Farmer’s Wife. Bar soap, Shampoo bar, Cleaning soap, Laundry Soap and Wool dryer balls. This list is short compared to what is available! I will add, the cleaning and laundry soap containers are returnable with a small discount, Reducing the container waste. Awesome!

I also visit other vendors for string beans, carrots, peppers, croissants, honey, leafy greens and garlic.

Some pictures of past trips to the Summerside Farmer’s Market
Croissant, wrong beans,now as, carrots, English cucumbers plastic free, bacon and garlic.
Free range eggs, lettuce, laundry soap, berries, bar soap, english cucumbers plastic free, kolbassa and bacon.
Free range local eggs, bacon, back bacon, laundry soap, bar soap, fresh greens, pepperoni and salami.
Snack bags
Reusable cloth snack bags
String beans and peas, apples, eggs, bar soap, shampoo bar and croissant.
Carrots, laundry soap, free range eggs, peppers, bacon, garlic, croissant, and peas.
Lettuce in cloth produce bag, carrots, peas, eggs, English cucumbers plastic free, string beans, bar soap, croissant and bacon.
Shopping local has many benefits!
  • Keeping money in local communities
  • Helping local families
  • Products come from familiar people
  • Much less carbon footprint for travelling
  • Products are fresher
  • Usually less packaging
  • Creates more demand for local products in turn creating local jobs
  • And many more!

Check out this post about my Shopping Routine and seasonings! It will show more about why I have changed our shopping and consuming habits and how! It was published in early June, and already we have made more changes!

Don’t forget the important R’s
  • Refuse
  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Repair
  • Recycle
  • Rot

Buy Nothing August

I am taking the 31 day challenge of Buy Nothing for a month (August). Basically, this challenge will help me avoid impulse purchasing, purchasing items not needed, saving money, buying local and second hand. Make do or do without.

Rules I am going by:

  • Buy what you need only (groceries, school supply list, emergency item)
  • Shop local (Farmer’s Market, small businesses)
  • Shop second hand (Franchies/Salvation Army)
  • No takeout (lunch and supper type meals)
  • Eat out the fridge, freezer and pantry.
Day 1
  • Bought nothing
Day 2
  • Much needed school shopping. Stuck completely to the list, bought as much possible package free, I’m really excited!! (I already signed up to buy school supplies back in June, this is necessary purchases)
  • Groceries at Sobey’s. Some plastic packaging (hotdog, milk, pizzaronies, pop cans, oxygen bleach). Though, I only bought what we needed, and am planning to eat out the fridge and pantry this month.
  • I will add, my husband and son wanted a pizza slice from a local shop, Michael’s Pizzeria. I did not get myself a slice! My husband is shaking his head at me 😂

Day 3
  • First, the Summerside Farmer’s Market. English cucumber requested without plastic wrap (stays fresh without!), carrots, peas, garlic and string beans using my cloth bags, 2 fresh croissonts and bacon from Pleasant Pork.
  • Second stop, Super store. Only place I can find 10 lb amount in a paper bag from Canada. (plastic mesh on front).
  • Third Stop, Bulk Barn. Used my cloth bags and container.
  • Fourth stop at Summerside Butcher Shop, meat wrapped in paper.
  • (Staples and Wal-Mart for school supplies, almost finished school supply shopping)

Day 4
  • Bought nothing
Day 5
  • Bought nothing
Day 6
  • Went to Bulk Barn today for peanut butter. We ran out and Chris wanted more gummy worms, as well as the kids. I think I did not buy enough this past Saturday. While I was there, I noticed a new product, chocolate bars. Big ones too! Chocolate and Almond, ones like Caramilk brand. I was excited and got some. It was only when I sat in the van that I realized my mistake. Impulsive shopping. Guilty chocolate. (Not worth it either, the chocolate is not very good! I will stick to the chocolate bars I do buy once in a while, Lindt. They come wrapped in paper and foil. No plastic waste.)
Day 7
  • Bought nothing
Day 8
  • Milk and Dishwasher powder
Day 9

Grocery run, part 1.

  • Parked the van at Superstore and walked to Wal-Mart (1 min walk, lol) for part of the school supply list. Graph paper.
  • Borax and Ragu spaghetti sauce at Superstore. (None at Sobey’s for the past couple weeks).
  • Drove to Sobey’s for the rest of the groceries.
  • Chris and Daniel wanted pizza from Michaels Pizzeria. None for me obviously. Brought my own containers. Was called “the zero waste lady”!

Eating out the fridge/freezer/pantry. Ragu to use up pasta on hand X2. More pantry supper plans under way. Finished the Salmon for supper from the freezer; done and done.

Day 10

Grocery run, part 2

  • Summerside Farmer’s Market, plastic free.
  • Frenchy’s Summerside second hand clothes for school kids. (First time heavily shopping for second hand!) plastic tag for price tag attachment. Less than $10.00
  • HMS office solutions for plastic free packaging on dry erase markers for school supplies.
  • Walked to the Dollar store from other end of strip mall for earphones for school supplies. Did not buy the cheap cheap ones. (though I needed only one pair, but Alaina says she needs a pair for school too, though it was not on the list. I believe her though, they use them in all the classes).
  • Summerside Salvation Army. Jeans for school kids. Less than $8.00
  • Compton’s Very Berry Patch / Compton’s Vegetable Stand for a tray of berries and new potatoes.
  • Super store for watermelon (not local yet), deli meat in my own container and bagels in my cloth bag. (I gave someone one of my bags so they did not have to use a plastic one).
  • Bulk Barn. Goods from there.

Heading to the Summerside Butcher Shop to pick up order wrapped in paper. (I was late getting my order in today, have to pick up this afternoon). Hair cuts for me and Alaina (We go like once a year! Lol.)

School supply shopping is done. Focusing on clothes (much needed!), backpack, lunch can, shoes, and water bottles. 3 kids in school this year.

Day 11
  • Bought chicken breasts at the butcher shop. They had none available package free on day 10. Not buying pre packed.
  • Pop for the big boys, almost out and did not know it when shopping the other day.
Day 12
  • Bought nothing
Day 13
  • Bought nothing
Day 14
  • Bought nothing
Day 15
  • Bought nothing
Day 16
  • Bought regular groceries needed.
  • Bought a new bra, mine are totally wearing out.
  • Bought second hand pants for Daniel.
Day 17
  • Lots of local shopping such as the Farmer’s Market. Free range eggs and bacon, garlic and peas, carrots and peppers. Almond Croissant and laundry soap (returnable, refundable and reusable container).
  • Plastic free products such as meats (wrapped in paper, deli meat in my own container) and bulk barn trip.
  • Comptons Veg. Patch for fresh corn, cucumbers and Blue berries!
  • Thrift shopping and got some great clothes for the kids at school and a school bag for Julia. Was planning on buying a new one, more pricy so it lasts many years, but seen this one at Salvation Army for $3.00! Super excited!
    Alaina
    Backpack and grey t-shirt for Julia, rest for Alaina
    3 t-shirts for Daniel, hoody for Julia
    Summerside Farmer’s Market haul.
    Jeans for Daniel, belt too!
    Day 18
  • Bought nothing
Day 19
  • Bought nothing
Day 20
  • Bought ice cream as a treat for the family at a dairy bar. 3 cones and 3 dishes (waste), but brought our own spoons.
Day 21
  • Picked up some more grocery items I missed and ran out of.
  • Picked up some socks and underwear for the school kids. Hate the plastic packaging.
  • Bought a new bra, last one I got was too small; it will be donated.
Day 22
  • Bought nothing
Day 23
  • Regular groceries at Sobey’s
Day 24
  • Farmer’s Market, lots of goods. Beans and peas, eggs, croissant, local apples, shampoo bar and bar soap.
  • Frenchy’s for gym clothes for Daniel. Less than $5.00!
  • Compton’s Vegetable Stand, making mustard pickles. Yummy corn and fresh blueberries!
  • Superstore goods. I had to exchange two packs of socks for Alaina, bought the ankle ones by accident the oither day.
  • Bulk Barn. Jack wanted a pez dispenser. Could not change his mind. Trying out some more dried fruit this week.
  • The Summerside Butcher Shop, meat wrapped in paper. Chicken and a bit of Hamburg.
  • Take out for supper. But, here is a link to make it a plastic free meal, at McDonald’s, for a family!
Day 25
  • Bought nothing
Day 26
  • Bought nothing
Day 27
  • Bought salt so I could make mustard pickles
Day 28
  • Bought nothing
  • Tablet died, touch screen does not work. No more pictures to add here.
Day 29
  • Bought sugar and peanut butter at Bulk Barn
  • Bought fresh blueberries from Compton”s Vegetable Stand
  • Donated 5 boxes of household items to Salvation Army (45 boxes donated since November 2018)
Day 30
  • Bought regular groceries at Sobey’s
  • Bought sneakers for Alaina for school
Day 31
  • Farmer’s Market haul
  • Frenchy’s for 2 T-shirts for Julia and a T-shirt for Daniel (for school)
  • Compton’s for corn
  • Superstore for package free deli meat, oranges and Nature Clean dishwasher powder (box)
  • Summerside Butcher Shop for meat wrapped in paper
  • Picked a bunch of green and yellow string beans at my mom’s for blanching and freezing. Also picked oversize pea pods as the peas were breaking free from the pod. I will dry them out for seed planting next year as well as some of the oversize beans.
  • McDonald’s for supper, ran out of time and patients by the time we got back home. Everyone was hungry, and it would have been after 6 before I could have supper made, convenience.
End of challenge

I have learned to thrift shop on this challenge. Thrift stores have a lot to offer! If I am in need to buy something, I will search them out first. Even the buy/sell groups on line are beneficial and those groups help individual people, which is good.

A lesson I already stand by is to think about the item I want to purchase. Is the item needed? How long? What is the quality? Going zero waste has already taught me that one, and it is very important!

We do not overspend on things anyways as a household. We have been that way for years, except on Holidays, but that has changed between 2018 and present time. Buy Nothing Challenge opens your eyes to what is actually needed versus want. Wanting is adding to the problem of over consumption. Focus on need. Use what you have, buy second hand, buy local, or do without.

 

Reusable Lunch Baggies

Last weekend at the farmer’s market I picked some cloth lunch bags for the kids at school. I am trying to cut down the number of dishes that need washing. Also, containers take up a lot of space in the kids lunch cans. No pre wrapped snacks go to school with my kids. Snacks are bought at Bulk Barn or are homemade. Crackers are the exception, have not tried to make them myself yet. Also, fresh fruit and veggies are usually bought package free.

Inspire Essential Oil Heatable Bags makes all kinds of bag like items from reusable grocery bags to money purses. Definitely worth a look if you in the area! I will be purchasing more in the future for school. Super simple to wash them too, just put them in the next wash cycle. I find the containers are very tedious. Takes a long time for them to dry because of all the crevasses, let alone washing them 5 days a week, gets tiresome. 4 containers per lunch can = 12 tops and bottoms per day. Sometimes I get away with reusing some that had dry goods inside like crackers or pretzels.

Anyways, not really wanting to rant, lol. This bag here is my favourite. It makes me think of my daughter Alaina.

 

Ask For Change

I highly recommend you ask your local farmers to sell English cucumbers wrapper free! This is the third cucumber I have bought without the wrap and it has stayed moist and crisp! This particular English cucumber was bought on Saturday, it is 5 days old! Look at the juice on the blade of the knife!

Do you know why English cucumbers are wrapped? Because of their thin skin. They are susceptible to moisture lost and can damage easily.

In my opinion, if they are travelling from field to market to your fridge/table in a short amount of time (like at the farmer’s market), there is no need for wrapping! I don’t know how well they would take to travel long distances, hence the wrapping I suppose. Like most things, there is a time and place for some things.

This is tested and proved in my kitchen! If there is leftover cucumber, I wrap a damp cloth around the cut end (beeswax wrap would work too), and secure it on with an elastic band.

I want to thank Clohossey Farms for two plastic free English cucumbers!! Summerside Farmer’s Market

Cleaning Soap

Time to knock out some plastic containers! (Use less of the contents anyways, vinegar). I bought this amazing product at the Farmer’s Market this morning. It’s a great cleaner and contains essential oils to “combat germs, viruses and bacteria.”. No Chemicals, dyes or phosphates. I’m told it works for everything but needs to be diluted as it is very concentrated! Counters, bathroom, dishes, laundry, floors and even carpets!

I already started to test it around the around the house:
Countertops and cupboards. √
Mirrors and windows √
Dishes √

I am so impressed how well it cleans mirrors!! Our bedroom dresser mirror has always had a film on it. Full of streaks and glare. Even vinegar did not clean it (or windex when I used that stuff).

This jug, at the time, is $14.00. The empty container can be returned with a $1.00 discount (cap returned too) and it will get reused, not recycled or trashed!

The water becomes cloudy once the solution is added. It does not bubble up like regular dish soap. The bubbles are just an added feature.

I will post more about this experience in the future!

The Farmer’s Wife