The hell with organic, I want my produce cheap!

The financial pundits are telling us to cut our budgets by NOT purchasing organic produce.  I couldn’t agree more.

Last week I went on a pilgrimage to the San Jose Flea Market (, which has over 2000 vendors selling everything from tropical fish to sari fabric to haircuts.  Yes, some of the stalls are barbershops!  But I was mostly there to check out their legendary Produce Row, a quarter-mile-long farmers’ market.  Most of this flea market’s denizens are Latino (and most of the signage is in Spanish) so the available produce was primarily stuff used in Mexican cooking.  For less than $20, I picked up:

1 pound of strawberries
5 pounds pinto beans
5 pounds rice
2 pounds of tomatoes @ 99 cents/pound (you’d pay $3/pound at the Ferry Plaza Market)
a few yellow onions
a bag of dried red chili peppers that will last me for YEARS
6 bananas
5 heads of garlic
3 avocados
2 pounds red potatoes

I got home and made a batch of Lazy Girl’s Burritos with my haul and a few things I had at home:

1 medium tomato, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 dried red chili peppers, chopped
1 can (16 oz?) vegetarian refried beans

Combine all above ingredients in a saucepan and stir slowly over medium heat until hot.  Serve with flour tortillas and sliced avocado (and sour cream and grated cheese, if you have it).  Serves four (and you will probably have leftovers).

Closer to home, I like to shop for cheap produce at the Park Farmers Market (400 Irving) and Noriega Produce (3821 Noriega).  Why pay $3.99 for a little box of raspberries at Safeway or Trader Joe’s when you can get the same thing at Park for 99 cents?

Now I’m going to Google “refried beans recipe” and figure out what to do with all these pinto beans.


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