There is something about Berkeley that just encourages you to eat healthy,
live healthy, and just BE healthy. Since I've moved this past Summer, I've
become a vegetarian, I only eat organic, and I've also learned one key
lesson: if you eat healthy, you will be healthy, and you will likely do
better in your studies. Missing a class can leave you feeling lost, or
cause you to miss out on some very important information. It is best to
use preventive medicine to keep yourself from getting sick and missing a
day in school. Berkeley is the big leagues, and missing a single day of
class can be very disorienting. So be healthy, avoid getting sick, and you
will be able to give your all in your classes.
The hard part of eating healthy, in my humble opinion, is the restriction
of a student budget! Although I enjoy being a vegetarian for mainly
environmental reasons, I consider myself more of a budget-tarian. Meat is
just too expensive! So my recommendation is the wonderful weekly Berkeley
Farmer's Market. This expansive gathering of local growers, farmers,
butchers, bakers, musicians, and even masseuses certainly has a lot to
offer! I've shopped around a few other grocery stores, and the prices on
fresh produce at the Farmer's Market range from being about the same to
slightly more expensive. It is definitely worth it! The produce is much
fresher and locally sourced, so you can feel good about your purchase.
Besides produce, you can purchase meat, eggs, cheese, fresh yogurt,
coffee, and baked goods. There are also vendors offering incense, soaps,
flowers, and local wines. I venture out to Center Street, where it is held
every Saturday, as soon as I wake up. Right now, autumn is in full swing
and the selection offers the best of the season right now. But enough
talk, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Well, if those pictures didn't convince you to meander over to Center
Street early one Saturday morning, I don't know what will! My absolute
favorite things to buy at the market are fresh greens. One vendor offers
them in a 1 pound bag with edible flower petals in it for salads.
Once fall is over, I'm going to miss the plethora of beautiful
pears I've been buying for a few weekends now. One vendor, whom I
endearingly call "The Date Guy", sells fresh California dates; there
are some kinds available right now that are better than candy. Cooking is
my passion and I enjoyed some culinary school before my journey led me to
Berkeley, so this market is the best place for me to get fresh ingredients
and save money. This past weekend, I was inspired by Halloween to make a
pumpkin chili with all ingredients from the market. My roommate says it's
the best chili they've ever had. I credit it to the fresh ingredients
available at the market. Once again, I'll let a picture speak for me...
So, in a nutshell, coming to Berkeley and facing the egregious amount of
studying, late nights, and stress, a student can still manage to eat and
be healthy. Getting sick can be the downfall of many students, and I have
seen some less than satisfactory eating habits on campus but fret not! Go
to the Berkeley Farmer's Market! And keep in mind these handy Farmer's
- Bring your own bags. Some vendors charge for bags, or do not have bags available.
- Think about what you'll need ahead of time. The selection can be quite overwhelming at times.
- Don't rush! The market continues into the afternoon.
- Bring a blanket. The market is right by the park and there are sometimes events with live music. You can also buy freshly made food at the market and sit and eat it in the park.
- Go to the ATM ahead of time! The vendors only take cash. There are three banks further up center street towards the school.
- Be season savvy. Farmer's markets tend to offer only the produce that grows best in the current season. So don't expect fresh tomatoes in the winter, or succulent pears in the spring.
- Go see the Date Guy. Try the Barhi dates and forget about candy.... at least for a little while.