Eye Sightings

The Consumer Eyes Blog

Using Every Part of the... Vegetable?

In boom times, foodies might not think twice about picking up a basketful of $4 heirloom tomatoes. But when the economy dips, how do discerning gourmands stretch their dollar? For some, slipping into a routine of microwave dinners and fast food - or even one of wilted greens shipped from far-flung locations - just isn't an option. A recent article in the New York Times highlights the ways in which leading-edge consumers are making their veggie purchases go a little further.

From shredding broccoli stems for a salad to sauteeing cauliflower leaves, they're finding that there are ways to prepare and eat a lot of what would have otherwise been tossed onto the compost pile. “When you spend $40 at the Greenmarket, the pressure starts right there,” said Park Slope cooking teacher Ronna Welsh. “You feel more invested in the carrots you buy from the farmer than the ones you buy at Key Food. You feel sentimental about them, you have more respect for them.” The Times is clearly focusing on an upscale consumer in its article, but it does tell an interesting story about the resilience of organic shoppers and their willingness to get every bit of value out of their purchases. In these uncertain times, organic and local producers might not suffer as much as we would expect when consumers choose to tighten their purse strings.