Last Sunday I went to the wonderful Neighborfood Market in Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam. However this market is not like the ones I usually go to, this market is more like a big kitchen with different stalls from cafe’s and kitchens preparing delicious food that you can eat right away. It is a good way for starting companies to present themselves, it also a great chance for online food services to give people a real taste of their food.
During my yoga practice in the morning I had worked up an appetite and I tried plenty of the amazing dishes. I especially love the cactus, bean and guacamole salad from the Food for Thought stall and the freshly prepared asian spring roll from a different stall.
Even though I was fully satisfied afterwards I had to go to the Instock pop up restaurant, located on the same Westergas terrain! I have heard and read much on this company and I completely support their efforts. Instock is a company that every morning collects the surplus food from the supermarket Albert Heijn and with these foods the chefs make up the menu of the day. The foods are not expired but perhaps fruit and vegetables that didn’t make the supermarket’s standard or bread that is one day old. For example this day they had a brunch platter of the day with couscous with tomato and onion, apple cake, bruschetta and some other small dishes, all for only 10 euros. They will have this pop up store until May 17 and then they will move to somewhere in East Amsterdam, also they have a Toko on the Pijp at the Ferdinand Bolderstraat in Amsterdam and if that’s not enough they also have a truck (and transformed old fire-fighter truck!) with which they go to food festivals and different towns in the Netherlands.
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After working in an organic store in Amsterdam for a while, I got so upset with all the good produce and bread we had to throw away almost daily! For example if we had a deal on the bananas that week, we would stock them up, but at the end of the week we would have so much left over and what ever the employees wouldn’t take him would go into the trash! It so frustrating that when perfectly ripe and soft mangoes get thrown out just because it doesn’t meet the supermarkets standards anymore, I mean it is still perfectly edible even though it doesn’t look as “perfect”. So when I find organizations like Instock, I will try to support them as much as I can. Besides that I sometimes ask for the manager in a supermarket and tell them that I would be more than happy to take their “overripe” and “ugly” produce or “old” bread for a fraction of the original price, so that they don’t have to waste it. Often they are hesitant to give it away, because they are not sure if they are allowed to do that or do not know for how much to sell the food. However ones in a while they are glad to give it to me for half the price or sometimes even for free! So don’t hesitate to try this yourself and enjoy produce when it is, perhaps not as perfectly round, straight or bright, but just as delicious.
I hope that in the future we will find a purpose for these foods or that supermarket lower the standards and do not fuss over a cucumber that isn’t straight or a carrot that isn’t bright orange. The foods I buy from my local market come in all shapes and colours and they taste just fine, if not even better.